The Idiots Of Fox News: Garrett, Sammon, And O’Reilly Edition

I know, the headline is redundant. What’s more, this list is far from comprehensive. It is just intended to spotlight a few recent examples. I couldn’t possibly keep up with them all.

For the last Week, Major Garrett has been making it abundantly clear that he is a moron. He doesn’t seem to understand how the Internet works and he thinks that emails received by some Fox News viewers is a more important issue than health care or Afghanistan or Iran or anything else on the nation’s agenda.

Now a Fox colleague has joined him and may have surpassed his idiocy. Bill Sammon, VP and Washington managing editor, appeared this morning and was interviewed by anchor Trace Gallagher (who delivers every report as if you are a kindergartner – which may be appropriate for Fox viewers). In his attempt to prolong the manufactured pseudo-scandal over emails, Sammon explained that the White House improperly collected email data (it did not) and that it should not be retained. He then went on to speculate that the administration might destroy the alleged data and that, if they did, they would be in violation of the Presidential Records Act. So Sammon was criticizing the White House for both keeping the data and not keeping the data (he later acknowledged this paradox, but the damage he intended was done). It’s the perfect Fox News perspective. No matter what the President does, it’s wrong.

Perennial Fox News idiot, Bill O’Reilly had this to say yesterday on the President’s health care proposal:

“‘Talking Points’ watched President Obama in Colorado on Saturday, and once again I had no idea what the president was talking about. He went on and on about all kinds of stuff that seemingly only he understands. It’s kind of like a poltergeist. He can see it; nobody else can.”

“So here’s the deal. If President Obama wants more fairness in the health care industry, he has to come up with five bullet points that even I can understand. Five things that clearly tell us what Obamacare would do.”

First of all, isn’t it cute that O’Reilly refers to himself as “Talking Points,” some kind of disembodied concept that watched the President? But more to the point, he admitted that he is an idiot who has “no idea what the president was talking about.” I suppose we should respect his honesty for confessing to his inferior comprehension skills. But he goes on to complain that Obama’s plan isn’t simple enough for him and that it should have five bullet points to make it understandable to someone of his deficient mental capacity. Unfortunately, the White House ignored O’Reilly’s advice and published eight bullet points:

  • Reduce long-term growth of health care costs for businesses and government
  • Protect families from bankruptcy or debt because of health care costs
  • Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans
  • Invest in prevention and wellness
  • Improve patient safety and quality of care
  • Assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans
  • Maintain coverage when you change or lose your job
  • End barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions

Those three extra bullet points may be too much for Mr. “Talking Points” to grasp. It was also too difficult for him to even find this list of the President’s objectives (it took me about ten seconds. I searched Google for “White House” and “healthcare” and clicked on the first link). So O’Reilly is essentially asking for an explanation that he can understand, which is already available, but he still can’t understand it. Another perfect Fox News perspective.

Fox News Lies About Carville For Limbaugh

Obviously Rush Limbaugh’s infantile tantrum regarding his hope that President Obama fails has not gone over well with most Americans. But it has warmed the hearts of dittoheads, Republicans, and Fox News personnel. At the top of that list would be the Fox News Washington managing editor, Bill Sammon.

In his zeal to to defend Limbaugh, the leader of the Republican Party, Sammon dug up a comment by James Carville in 2001. Referring to President Bush, Carville was quoted as saying, “I certainly hope he doesn’t succeed.”

That mere sentence fragment is the whole of Sammon’s reporting on Carville’s comments. Carville said a great deal more which was reported elsewhere, but Sammon chose not to include any of it because it didn’t support the impression that Sammon wanted to create – which was to associate Carville’s statement with Limbaugh’s. Well, here is the rest of Carville’s comments:

“People basically like this president as a person and they want him to succeed, but they have some pretty serious doubts that have not crept in but are sort of there. You have almost half the country saying he is in over his head. Over half the country saying he is for the powerful. And as much as I would like for it or wish for it, they are not going to pull away completely from him months into his administration.

I don’t care if people like him or not, just so they don’t vote for him and his party. That is all I care about. I hope he doesn’t succeed, but I am a partisan democrat. But the average person wants him to succeed. It is his country, his life or their lives. So he has that going for him. There is a lot that is going to happen between now and next November. It is not that people don’t like him. It is not that people don’t want him to succeed but it is also not that he doesn’t have some serious underlying problems.”

It seems abundantly clear that the only thing Carville is talking about was succeeding electorally. He was not saying that he hoped Bush’s policies fail, he just wanted Bush and other Republicans to lose elections. Contrast that with Limbaugh’s repeated assertions that it is President Obama’s agenda that he hopes will fail. What’s more, Limbaugh encourages others to adopt the same hope for failure, and disagreeing with Limbaugh is tantamount to treason. Carville is directing his comments to results from polling that express public opinion. He is not attempting to persuade anyone to adopt his opinion. And if he were, there would be no repercussions for those who disagreed.

It is also abundantly clear that Sammon deliberately truncated Carville’s statement to slant the story against Carville. Furthermore, Sammon included responses from Limbaugh regarding this story, but didn’t give Carville the same opportunity to respond.

Fair and balanced? Uh huh. And remember, Sammon is a news executive at Fox, not a commentator. But even he must bow down to kiss Limbaugh’s ring.

Prediction: I want to go on record as the first to predict that Fox will launch a new TV program starring the leader of the Republican Party. Fox News CEO, Roger Ailes previously produced a syndicated show for Rush Limbaugh that failed miserably – perhaps because TV required that viewers actually look at him. But Glenn Beck has proven that Fox viewers are less discriminating than the broader syndication audience. Ailes and Limbaugh will try again, this time on a more friendly platform.

Karl Rove: Turning On The Spit

Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, and Josh Bolton are finally going to submit to questioning from the House Judiciary Committee. The agreement for their testimony spares them from having to appear under oath or in public. Although there will be a transcription of the proceedings, it will not be released until after the hearings are completed.

In reporting this concession, Bill Sammon, the Washington managing editor for Fox News, couldn’t help spinning the story in the most journalistically irresponsible manner possible. In an obvious attempt to disparage the chairman of the committee, Rep. John Conyers, Sammon wrote this:

“We’re closing in on Rove,” Conyers was overheard saying by two people just off the House floor last year. “Someone’s got to kick his ass.”

So two unidentified people just off the House floor, whom Sammon quoted without indicating whether they might have a partisan bias, happened to “overhear” something that they assert Conyers said. This means that they weren’t even participants in the conversation. And yet, this thoroughly unreliable pair of mysterious eavesdroppers are submitted by Sammon as sources for his reporting. It does provide a nice intro for Rove’s folksy self-defense:

“I understand they [Miers and Bolten] may be the hors d’oeuvres, but I’m the main course,” said Rove, who was Bush’s top political adviser in the White House. “Some Democrats would love to have me barbecued.”

It was generous of Sammon to set Rove up for that bit of theater and to preemptively tarnish the committee conducting the investigation. But it also provides additional proof that Sammon is a bald-faced partisan, and Fox News is the employer of choice for such hacks.

As for barbecuing Rove, the reason Democrats would love to see him turning on the spit (i.e. rotating on a skewer) is precisely because throughout his career he has been turning on the spit (i.e. orally ejecting (political) secretions).

Meet Bill Sammon: The New Fox News DC Chief

The “Fair and Balanced” network, Fox News, has just promoted Bill Sammon to VP And Washington Managing Editor. Just so you know who will be heading up the political newsgathering for the so-called news network, here is a collection of his writings:

Bill Sammon Books
  • The Evangelical President: George Bush’s Struggle to Spread a Moral Democracy Throughout the World
  • At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election
  • Strategery: How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media.
  • Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism from Inside the White House
  • Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, Media Bias and the Bush Haters

Bill Sammon is no less ideological or partisan than Bill O’Reilly. Now he will be in charge of all Washington news decisions. That means both establishing the tone and slant of stories they report, and determining what stories to refrain from reporting. He will also continue to appear on Fox News offering his opinions as a news analyst. Fox still hasn’t learned that opinions are not a part of the journalist’s responsibilities.

See the full contingent of Fox News authors here.

Bill Sammon Of Fox News Pimps Republican Press

One of the most visible faces on Fox News is Bill Sammon. He is the Washington, D.C., deputy managing editor and is prominent on Fox broadcasts throughout the news day. His senior post places him at the most high profile events, particularly at the White House.

Yesterday he covered Barack Obama’s first prime time press conference, and today he published his observations in an article on the Fox News website. The most significant revelations Sammon drew from the event appear to be related to the press pool’s guest list and the seating chart. Here is how Sammon described the game of political chairs:

“He seated a left-wing radio host in the coveted front row. He called on a liberal blogger from the Huffington Post. He even brought far-left columnist Helen Thomas out of the wilderness and let her ruminate about ‘so-called terrorists.’ […] Clearly, President Obama was making a point of showing deference to the Left at his first prime-time press conference.”

Clearly? I wonder if Sammon is just perturbed that the “coveted front row” was no longer reserved for right-wing media elitists like himself. Perhaps Ed Schultz took his seat. Or maybe he thinks that he would have asked a better question than Sam Stein of the Huffington Post (the first online journalist ever called on at a presidential presser). No doubt Sammon would have asked something important like, “Mr. President, how come I didn’t get a seat in the front row?” And how petty do you have to be to whine about Helen Thomas, the 88 year-old dean of the Washington press corps, getting to ask a question of the tenth president she’s covered in her unparalleled career?

Sammon has the nerve to describe this article as an analysis of the press conference. But in over 500 words he never addresses a single subject touched on by the press or the President. He is consumed with the layout of the room and its occupants. Of particular concern is the ideology of the gathered reporters. Unfortunately, all his squinted eyes can see are liberals for miles and miles.

Sammon asserts that George Bush would never have allowed a right-wing partisan into the press room. Someone should introduce Sammon to Jeff Gannon, who was given press credentials by Bush despite being a radical rightist who wasn’t even a reporter. And if Sammon had bothered to peruse the room yesterday, he would have seen John Gizzi of the uber-conservative Human Events. And had he done some research, he would have learned that there was a seat reserved for a reporter from conservative Salem Radio – right in the front row – who never even bothered to show up.

But seriously, what should we expect from this hack? Before his stint with Fox, he was the White House correspondent for the Moonie Washington Times. And he is the author of these brazenly partisan books:

  • At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election
  • Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism from Inside the White House
  • Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, Media Bias and the Bush Haters
  • Strategery: How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media.
  • The Evangelical President: George Bush’s Struggle to Spread a Moral Democracy Throughout the World

That’s a pretty one-sided collection of prose. And now he is one of the top editorial decision makers for a so-called news network. His position is not one of commentary, like Sean Hannity. He is supposedly a journalist and a practitioner of hard news. Fox CEO, Roger Ailes, often insists that…

“…it’s a mistake to look at Fox News Channel’s primetime opinion shows and say they represent the channel’s journalism.”

Mr Ailes is partly correct. He just needs to expand this comment to say that it’s a mistake to look at anything on Fox News and say it represents journalism. The fact that Sammon holds a senior position as an editor shows that Fox has dropped all pretense of being a news provider. They can no longer claim that it’s just the night time guys who dabble in opinion. Sammon’s hackery is just as biased as anything that Hannity spits out.

Fox News Lies About Census Coverage

When Barack Obama nominated Republican Senator Judd Gregg to be Commerce Secretary, there was a well deserved outcry from Democrats and minority advocates. This is a man who twice voted to eliminate the cabinet position he now hopes to occupy.

Amongst the responsibilities of the Commerce Secretary is the Bureau of the Census. The prospect of having a far-right Republican running an agency for which he has shown contempt spurred the Obama administration to announce that the Director of the Census would work closely with the White House. Now, that announcement has sparked complaints from Republicans, who accused the President of politicizing the Census.

There are plenty of reasons to regard these accusations with ridicule. First of all, the Census has always been political. Any process that determines the party apportionment in Congress is going to have partisan ramifications. George Bush installed the manager of his presidential campaign, Don Evans, as his Commerce Secretary. Would anyone be foolish enough to assert that that wasn’t political?

Fox News, however, takes hypocrisy to new levels. Bill Sammon, Deputy Managing Editor for Fox, reported today on the move to have the Census be overseen by the White House. Predictably, he demeaned the proposal as a Democratic power grab. Then he went on to brag that only Fox News was reporting this critical story. He specifically said that he had checked for other news reports and found none.

Well, apparently he didn’t check ABC or MSNBC or CNN or the Washington Post or the New York Times.

It’s bad enough that Fox is misreporting this story on a substantive basis; that they fail to provide context or balance by showing what previous administrations have done; and that they load up their broadcast with an ignorance-fueled outrage. Do they also have to demonstrate such deliberately shoddy research skills so that they can pretend to be a lonely clarion for their pseudo-truths?

Watch for this issue to consume more and more airtime at Fox News. After the Sammon report, anchor Martha MacCallum and chief Washington correspondent Jim Angle repeated the boast. They are already running promos on the subject for Bret Baier’s Special Report. This will be Fox’s first official, post-inaugural disinformation campaign. They are now intent on doing to President Obama what they did to candidate Obama with Rev. Wright, Bill Ayres, ACORN, and the rest of their phony smears.

Fox is fortifying their position with sustained attacks from Glenn Beck to Bill O’Reilly to Sean Hannity, in support of their colleagues on the “news” team. Enough of the electorate was wise to the Fox propaganda assault last November to produce an Obama victory. We can only hope that people continue to pay attention and recognize lies when they hear them.

The Fox News Conservative Book Promotion Channel

Anyone who watches Fox News with any frequency is painfully aware that it is little more than a marketplace for rightist propaganda and rancor. But lately, I noticed another kind of hucksterism that is rampant on the network. Several of their regular anchors and contributors are identified as authors in the graphics at the bottom of the screen. This happens often enough that I began to wonder just how widespread this practice of co-promotion of TV and publishing was. As it turns out, it is pretty damn widespread. If you were to populate your library with books by Fox News personalities, you would have to purchase all of these – to start:

Bill O’Reilly
A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity
Culture Warrior
The O’Reilly Factor
Kids Are Americans Too
The O’Reilly Factor for Kids
Who’s Looking Out for You?
The No Spin Zone

Dick Morris
Rewriting History
Power Plays: Win or Lose
Because He Could
Off with Their Heads
Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race

Michele Malkin
Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild
In Defense of Internment

Mike Straka
Grrr! Celebrities Are Ruining Our Country

Sean Hannity
Deliver Us from Evil
Let Freedom Ring

Glenn Beck
The Christmas Sweater
An Inconvenient Book
The Real America

John Gibson
The War on Christmas
Hating America
In Defense of Religion

Laura Ingraham
Power to the People
Shut Up and Sing
The Hillary Trap

Major Garrett
The Enduring Revolution: The Inside Story of the Republican Ascendancy and Why It Will Continue
The 15 Biggest Lies in Politics

Ann Coulter
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans
How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)
High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Bernie Goldberg
A Slobbering Love Affair
Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right
110 People Who Are Screwing Up America

James Rosen
The Strong Man

Greta Van Susteren
My Turn at the Bully Pulpit

Updated to add:
Fox News Washington, D.C., deputy managing editor, Bill Sammon
At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election
Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism from Inside the White House
Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, Media Bias and the Bush Haters
Strategery: How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media.
The Evangelical President: George Bush’s Struggle to Spread a Moral Democracy Throughout the World

This a wholly unprecedented marketing partnership between a so-called news organization and a right-wing political crusade. The books being plugged by the Fox spokesmodels are hardcore partisan tracts that all reflect the same regressive ideology. They have implemented a campaign that blankets their airwaves with pitches for published opinion pieces that are mostly dishonest, manipulative, and overtly hostile.

So where is the other side in this debate? Of course there are no anchors or hosts that lean even modestly left on the “fair and balanced” network. But even amongst their pseudo-liberal commentators like Kirsten Powers, Bob Beckel, or the recently departed Alan Colmes, you would be hard pressed to turn up a handful of literary works. Even so, I have never seen any of their limited line advertised on the air. Conversely, grousers like O’Reilly hawk their books on every broadcast. And you’ll find that appearances from the Coulters and Goldbergs increase coincident with the release of each new product. As for the other networks, there are a few authors scattered about, like Lou Dobbs, but the shelf space they would consume would be a mere fraction of the Fox Book Club.

The truly astonishing thing about all of this is that anyone would want to read (or watch) any of these pathetic characters to begin with. They represent a collection of the world’s most ill informed, logic deprived, truth averse losers in modern media. Bernie Goldberg, the fired CBS alum, is an unrepentant propagandist who writes books about media bias. Well, I guess he should know. Major Garrett, Fox’s White House correspondent, presciently penned a tome with the subtitle of “The Inside Story of the Republican Ascendancy and Why It Will Continue.” That was published just prior to the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006, followed up in 2008 with additional congressional gains and an historic White House victory. Good call, Major

But my favorite is the Clown Prince of Fox, Dick Morris. His 2006 book, “Condi vs. Hillary,” predicts the prospects for the commencing presidential election. Here is a sample of his astute analysis from the introduction to the book:

[T]here is no doubt that Hillary Clinton is on a virtually uncontested trajectory to win the Democratic nomination and, very likely, the 2008 presidential election. She has no serious opposition in her party […]

The stakes are high. In 2008, no ordinary white male Republican candidate will do. Forget Bill Frist, George Allen, and George Pataki. Hillary would easily beat any of them. Rudy Giuliani and John McCain? Either of them could probably win, but neither will ever be nominated by the Republican Party.

So Morris got the Democratic nominee wrong. He got the Republican nominee wrong. And the Republican who Morris said could win if he were nominated actually lost. It is on the strength of this sort of analysis that Morris gets asked back to provide additional insights.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter on Fox (or almost any of the TV news nets) if you’re wrong. The only thing that matters is that you faithfully regurgitate the conservative dogma and talking points. If you do, then you will have a job for life, and your books, web sites, and other media spew will become part of the marketing machine that props up conservatism. It’s an elegantly parasitic relationship. TV exposure begets propaganda which begets book deals which begets TV exposure which begets propaganda, ad infinitum.

And at the center of it all is Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., a vertically integrated media empire that channels disinformation throughout it’s layers of television, radio, newspapers, magazine and book publishers, and the Internet. This complex web of entanglements insures multimedia distribution of the right wing’s political philosophy. Each props up the other to produce an architecture of lies in support of their lust for power and their Utopian dream for social Darwinism. Goebbels would have been proud.

Media Bias According to Fox News

On the New Year’s Eve edition of Special Report on Fox News, the matter of media bias was raised by anchor Jim Angle, sitting in for the retiring Brit Hume. It was a simple question, really. He merely remarked that it was “a big year for the media” and tossed it to panel member Bill Sammon, Deputy Managing Editor of Fox News. Sammon replied

“The year that journalism died, to borrow a phrase I first heard from Roger Ailes. I never thought the press could become more biased until I saw what happened during the coverage of the Obama campaign.”

“Unbelievable that The Washington Post ombudsman admitted afterwards that they were basically in the tank for him. We had people talking about thrill up my leg when they heard Obama’s speech.”

What’s unbelievable is listening to a senior Fox News reporter quoting Roger Ailes, the most partisan news executive in history, and complaining about the existence of bias in the news. As his example of bias, Sammon cites the allegedly favorable press treatment of Barack Obama, whom Fox and other news organizations relentlessly smeared as a radical, Socialist, Muslim-raised, inexperienced, unpatriotic, elitist, who palled around with terrorists. Just because Sammon could recall a notably stupid comment about Chris Matthews’ leg, doesn’t undo all the vile character assassination directed at Obama for months.

What’s more, Sammon’s commitment to objectivity was somewhat diminished by his company. He was sitting on a panel that displayed a diversity of political views that spanned from Jeff Birnbaum of the Moonie-Con Washington Times to conservative icon Charles Krauthammer. Sammon specifically singled out the Washington Post for criticism as biased, which is interesting because that’s the deplorable liberal rag that employs and syndicates his panel pal Krauthammer.

Sammon’s obtuse obliviousness is a rather typical Fox characteristic. They assert press bias without even a hint of ironic recognition that they are a prominent part of the mainstream media. All that matters is that they cast aspersions on anyone who is not them. Yet by the end of the program, Sammon said something that was impossible to deny:

The media really had a bad year in 2008. It will take a long time to recover.

I couldn’t agree more. And it was mostly due to the sort of dishonesty and disinformation propagated by people like Sammon and Fox News.