Fox News = The Astrology of Journalism: Cries ‘Fake News’ While Burying Their Own Fakery

On Sunday morning Fox News has a program that ostensibly covers what’s happened in the media during the prior week. MediaBuzz is hosted by Howard Kurtz, a reliably right-wing shill who spins almost every story in favor of Donald Trump and conservative Republicans. The latest episode had plenty of red meat to chew on, but Kurtz predictably managed to shift the focus to the so-called “liberal” news outlets while letting his own network off the hook.

Fox News Howard Kurtz

The program began by dedicating the whole A-block to Trump flunkies Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. They spent several minutes bashing Democrats with provably dishonest statements. Kurtz never once challenged them or questioned the phony basis for their remarks. And when he eventually wrapped up this Trump Lovefest, Kurtz moved on to devote much of the rest of the program to comparatively minor media mix-ups.

In the first instance Kurtz pressed his panel to discuss a CNN story that misstated the date of an email (September 14 rather than 4). The main point of the story was to reveal a communication with the Trump campaign about Wikileaks and Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails. That was little changed by the differences in the date. It’s still significant that Trump and his associates were alerted to the Wikileaks data almost immediately after it was posted. Nevertheless, several minutes were spent discussing the story that CNN had quickly corrected.

Kurtz also featured a tweet of a photo that showed low attendance at Trump’s Pensacola rally for Roy Moore. Dave Weigel, a Washington Post reporter retweeted the photo on his personal account, not as a WaPo item. He later apologized saying that the photo was taken before Trump’s arrival (although other photos seem to confirm that the venue was not “filled to the rafters”. as Trump said). Trump also addressed this tweet and, in a tweet of his own that breaches the constitutional protections of a free press, he called for Weigel to be fired.

A date mix-up and a reference to Trump’s crowd size are typical of the trivia that Fox News seems to be perpetually obsessed with. They blow up stories like these into major catastrophes because they haven’t got any legitimate criticisms to report. And they conclude from these trite examples that the media is hopelessly biased and infested with fakery. Trump himself lied about these mishaps being “vicious and purposeful,” when there is no basis whatsoever for that hyperbolic and delusional reaction.

What makes the focus of Kurtz’s program all the more troubling is that Fox News also had a problem this week with a report that they had to correct. Of course, they have lots of problems every week that they never bother to correct. But this story resulted in Fox News editing their story and headline because it was too dishonest even for them.

The story was about Roy Moore, the GOP senate candidate in Alabama who has been accused of sexual assault on a minor (among other atrocities). Fox’s headline falsely asserted that “Roy Moore accuser admits she forged part of yearbook inscription attributed to Alabama Senate candidate.” There was just one little problem with that. The accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, never admitted any such thing. All she did was reveal that she made a notation, next to Moore’s yearbook message and signature, to recall the date and location it was signed. Nothing was forged, and there was no attempt to deceive anyone into thinking the notation was Moore’s handwriting.

Fox News changed the headline (although not the URL) to read “Roy Moore accuser admits she wrote part of yearbook inscription attributed to Alabama Senate candidate.” But that’s also untrue. She did not write Moore’s inscription and she did not attribute the notation to Moore. Fox’s correction fell beneath ethical standards expected of professional journalists. And the magnitude of the mistake was far more serious than those of CNN and the Weigel. In fact, Fox News literally accused Ms. Nelson of the crime of forgery, something she could sue them for.

That seems like it would be an excellent story for a program that reports on the media to cover. But Kurtz gave the Fox News story a whopping three seconds. He mentioned it in passing as he immediately segued back to other alleged media faux pas. He didn’t criticize Fox for the error or allow his panel to discuss it. He quite obviously and deliberately buried the story. And that’s pretty much his mandate for the program he hosts. It’s a regularly scheduled propaganda machine to make all other media look bad, while sweeping Fox’s far more blatant problems under the rug.

Most intelligent media consumers are aware that mistakes happen. Reporters are human. And the presence of errors does not translate into “fake news.” To the contrary, when a mistake is made an ethical news operation will acknowledge and correct it. That’s actually evidence of their honesty and dedication to the truth. Conservative David Frum put it perfectly Sunday morning on CNN’s Reliable sources when he said:

“These mistakes are precisely why people should trust the media. Astronomers make mistakes all the time because science is the process of the discovery of truth. Astrologers never make mistakes, or at least they never own up to them. Because what they are offering is a closed system of ideology and propaganda.”

And that could not be a better description of the difference between Fox News and responsible journalism. Fox is the astrology of news. They report what they believe their audience wants to hear. And it doesn’t matter if they have to make it up or bend it to fit a preconceived viewpoint. It’s purpose is not to inform, but to make the audience feel better about themselves and to affirm what they already believe (or hope) is true. And the way Fox News reads the stars somehow always divines good news for Trumpians and bad news for Democrats and liberals. Funny how that happens, isn’t it?

And this just in: Leland Vittert of Fox News was having a discussion this morning about fake news when he interjected that Dave Weigel had been fired from the Washington Post. That is fake news.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

LOCK HER UP: Fox News Stands Alone With Praise For Aspiring Dictator Donald Trump

The second presidential debate is now a part of history, and that’s not just a figure of speech. In a campaign that has set ugly precedents and breached common standards of decency from its inception, Donald Trump has once again lowered the bar. He has let his inner dictator emerge in full view of millions of viewers and citizens.

Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

During a debate wherein Trump engaged in free-range falsification of reality, there was one moment that stood out. It was an exchange in which Trump took the extraordinary position that as president he would instruct his Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: “I didn’t think I’d say this but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it, but if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.
CLINTON: It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country.
TRUMP: Because you’d be in jail.

The “situation” to which Trump referred has to do with Clinton’s emails and the private server she used. Never mind that an extensive investigation was already completed by the FBI. While they found some room for criticism, they concluded that there were no actionable violations of the law.

Trump, however, doesn’t care about the law as evidenced by his prejudgment to jail Clinton before any investigation or trial. It’s a position that stands in stark contrast to every legal precept in a democracy. Former Attorney General Eric Holder noted that in a statement saying “In the USA we do not threaten to jail political opponents.” George Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer agreed saying that “Winning candidates don’t threaten to put opponents in jail. […] Trump is wrong on this.”

For the most part the media recognized the aberrant legal analysis that Trump was proposing. Like much of what he says on any subject, he demonstrated his pitiful lack of knowledge or even basic understanding. Here are a few examples of how the press views Trump’s ludicrous threat.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: We got an excellent moment right now to discuss something I’ve never heard in any of these debates before between two presidential candidates […] One candidate says not only is he going to put forward a special prosecutor to investigate his rival, but he’s going to put her in jail if he’s elected president of the United States. That’s pretty extraordinary.

DANA BASH, CNN: What makes this country different from countries with dictators in Africa or Stalin or Hitler or any of those countries with dictators and totalitarian leaders is that when they took over, they put their opponents in jail.

JOY REID, MSNBC: We need to not speed past the point that an American candidate for president threatened to jail his political opponent. […] This happens in Malaysia, this happens in Uganda. This does not happen in the United States of America.

VAN JONES, CNN: A line was crossed that I don’t know has been crossed in my lifetime, maybe ever. He threatened to jail his opponent. […] He threatened to jail Hillary Clinton if he became president of the United States. That is something that I think is a new low in American democracy.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Donald Trump also said, in one of the most provocative comments of the evening, he said that if he was president, he would jail his political opponent. He would put Hillary Clinton in jail. That is the sort of thing that we usually decry in other countries, in authoritarian countries.

PAUL KRUGMAN: Let’s be clear: a candidate for president promised to put his opponent in jail if he wins. Everything else is secondary.

JAKE HOROWITZ, MIC: A few politicians who have jailed their political opponents: Putin, Erdogan, Chavez, Mugabe, Pinochet. Noriega.

DAVID FRUM, speechwriter for George Bush: Who would consent to serve as Attorney General to a president who believed he could direct prosecutions of his political opponents?

By contrast, Fox News presented a somewhat different perspective. Their primetime star Bill O’Reilly gushed that “That’s the smartest thing he did all night because that, just that, coalesced his base back together.” And contributor Scott Brown said that “It was the line of obviously, I think, the election, the debate process. […] it was a home run. I thought he won the debate.” Nowhere on the “fair and balanced” Fox News was there a contrary opinion like that expressed by Clinton’s campaign spokesman Brian Fallon:

“That is the comment of a dictator that you expect to hear in a banana republic — the idea of jailing your political opponents.”

And that pretty much sums it up. Trump has presented himself as a narcissistic authoritarian from the outset of his campaign. His racist proposals to ban immigrants on the basis of religion; his incitement of violence toward protesters; his proclamations that “I alone” can defeat ISIS, or reform the tax code, or repeal ObamaCare, or end street violence. These are all indications of Trump’s belief that as president he can act unilaterally and impose his will the nation. And let’s not forget his open hostility to the media upon whom he promised to seek revenge.

These are the thoughts and actions of a budding tyrant. Anyone who can contemplate putting Trump at the head of the U.S. government and military is playing with fire. Trump has shown us who he is, and it’s a frightening picture of autocratic oppression. If he were to become president, Hillary Clinton would not be the only opponent he would throw in his gulag. Guantanamo would be packed with his critics and any random liberals who offend him.

‘Fair And Balanced’ My Ass! Fox News Goes Full Propaganda Factory For Donald Trump

Fox News was never “fair and balanced” and was never meant to be. The slogan itself is a backhanded slap at every other media outlet that implies they are neither. It’s the same type of messaging that cults use to insure that their disciples believe only their dogma and reject all others as deceivers.

Fox News

So the debate over whether Fox News is biased ended before it even began. However, there is a much more interesting debate over who is in charge of the Republican Party. Is the GOP running its own show, or are they merely a vehicle to carry out the agenda of Fox News? Several years ago former Bush speechwriter David Frum recognized a power shift and wrote that “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox.” This question became even more complicated when Donald Trump’s campaign was taken over by Breitbart News (Fox-on-Steroids).

One thing that is unmistakable is that Fox News devotes all of its resources to pushing the conservative Republican political agenda. Throughout their broadcast day they provide vigorous support for right-wing candidates and policies. Their most prominent anchors are personal friends of Donald Trump, and Sean Hannity has even endorsed him on the air. And now they are literally creating pro-Trump memes to boost his campaign on social media. These are graphic advertisements that are either promoting Trump or bashing Hillary Clinton. Their are no pro-Clinton memes at all. Have a look (Slideshow):

Fox News Memes

Could this be any more brazenly partisan? Fox News is hyping some of the most ridiculous attacks on Clinton and many are purely opinions that have no basis in fact. In other words, it isn’t remotely news, it’s propaganda. When they resort to quoting Larry the Cable Guy saying that “Hillary will be the end of the country,” it’s safe to say they have crossed a line into the surreal.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Fox News has created a pro-Trump meme factory to spew GOP talking points in support of their chosen candidate. The fact that they are creating these graphics with only a single, ultra-rightist point of view should satisfy any lingering doubts about the partisan objectives of Fox News and their management. Continuing to pretend that there is an independent Republican Party is a fool’s exercise. There is now only Fox News and their political subsidiary that is marketing a racist, misogynist demagogue to its glassy-eyed congregation.

The Problem Is Bigger Than Glenn Beck

Glenn BeckI have been writing about the cerebral rot virus that is Glenn Beck for quite a while. And in all of that time I have striven to note that, as bad as Beck is, he is but a parasitic wart on the butt of the rightist media. Almost two years ago I wrote an article that showed how “Fox News Is Killing The Republican Party.”

You simply cannot grouse about Beck in a vacuum. He has a media machine that makes his brand of lunatic harangue possible. It starts with Fox News and Premiere Radio Networks and extends to the web of deluded defenders he has attracted – from conservative media moles like Andrew Breitbart to political unreality stars like Sarah Palin.

Lately some on the right have had the cobwebs brushed from their eyes. Reliable conservatives like Bill Kristol have found the courage to step away from Beck and the mental short circuit that defines his world view, but they continue to see him in isolation.

This week in the Washington Post, conservative Jennifer Rubin came a little bit closer to the source of the rhetorical shock doctrine that is electrifying the gray matter of America’s right wingers by saying…

“Conservative groups and candidates should be forewarned: If they host, appear with or defend him they should be prepared to have his extremist views affixed to them.”

That’s true, but what she just barely missed is that it isn’t just conservative groups and candidates who are infected by exposure to Beck. It is also his so-called “news” associates attached to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. Roger Ailes and Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and Murdoch himself are covered in Beck’s detritus.

Conor Friedersdorf has realized these broader truths and articulated them nicely in his article at the FrumForum observing the necessity to confront…

“…the fact that Fox News under Roger Ailes knowingly broadcasts factually inaccurate and egregiously misleading nonsense every day.”


“It’s going to be very difficult, however, to persuade conservatives to start regularly evaluating Fox News and talk radio on the substance of the rhetoric offered, and policing its absurdities.”


“Those writing as if Beck is an extreme outlier in the conservative world should use their newly opened eyes to survey the rhetorical landscape. Yes, his style is singular, and his conspiracy theories are particularly colorful. But is his brand of conspiratorial nonsense really any more blinkered than some of what’s uttered by other conservatives in good standing?”

Exactly. The diversion from reality is not limited to rodeo clowns like Beck. It has spread throughout the Rightosphere and threatens to make a mockery of everyone it touches. And Fox News in particular must be held to account for the “factually inaccurate and egregiously misleading nonsense” it feeds its gullible audience.

For our part, the left should make a point of connecting the dots between the crazies and the conservative mainstream who think they can profit from the controversy to which they contribute without bearing responsibility for degrading the discourse. And, as Rubin said, everything that the Beckoids say must be affixed to his enablers, particularly Murdoch and Ailes, until they take explicit steps to inoculate themselves.

Waterloo For Fox News?

Fourteen months. Fourteen long months of the most venal, histrionic, sensationalized, dishonest, and relentless crusade of disinformation, and what do they have to show for it?

[Purchase FreakShow stickers at Crass Commerce

Fox News has been the official campaign headquarters for opposition to health care reform. They dispatched their top personalities to headline rallies and protests. They consigned thousands of hours of valuable air time to anti-reform politicians and pundits. They converted their studios into Republican platforms for electioneering and fundraising. They adopted the Tea Party “movement” so thoroughly that they even rode along on its bus tours and branded its events as Fox enterprises.

And they lost.

Fox News is fond of reminding everyone of their ratings dominance. Although the cable news universe is comparatively tiny (Fox News has less than half the viewers of the lowest rated broadcast news program on CBS), Fox incessantly boasts that it is the leader in the space. But the fallout from the health care debate ought to demonstrate precisely how little that victory means in the macro world of politics. If the number one cable news network cannot sufficiently move public opinion to produce a legislative victory after fourteen months of persistent propaganda, it would be folly to regard them as if they were some formidable bastion of power or influence. Yet that is exactly how they are regarded by their patrons in the Republican Party (and many in the press).

Last July I wrote an article describing how “Fox News Is Killing The Republican Party”

Fox has corralled a stable of the most disreputable, unqualified, extremist, lunatics ever assembled, and is presenting them as experts, analysts, and leaders. These third-rate icons of idiocy are marketed by Fox like any other gag gift (i.e. pet rocks, plastic vomit, Sarah Palin, etc.). […]

By doubling down on crazy, Fox is driving the center of the Republican Party further down the rabid hole. They are reshaping the party into a more radicalized community of conspiracy nuts. So even as this helps Rupert Murdoch’s bottom line, it is making celebrities of political bottom-feeders. That can’t be good for the long-term prospects of the Republican Party. […]

This is a textbook example of how the extreme rises to the top. It is also fundamentally contrary to the interests of the Republican Party. The more the population at large associates Republican ideology with the agenda of Fox News, and the fringe operators residing there, the more the party will be perceived as out of touch, or even out of their minds.

See also: As Fox News Goes Up, The GOP Goes Down

Undoubtedly, Republicans will still embrace Fox News. They are not about to abandon the media megaphone that they believe is most in tune with their agenda. Consequently, they will continue to be hampered by the association with unhinged hyperbole like this:

Glenn Beck: This is the end of prosperity in America forever if this bill passes. This is the end of America as you know it.

Hannity: If we get nationalized health care, it’s over; this is socialism.

Neil Cavuto: National Healthcare: Breeding Ground For Terror?

In an inspired fit of illogic, Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard appeared on Fox News this morning to accuse Democrats of being partisan. His evidence was that 34 Democrats voted with Republicans against the health care care bill, but no Republicans voted with the Democrats in favor. Of course, that’s actually evidence that the Democrats were NOT partisan. They demonstrated some diversity in their views while Republicans all marched in lock-step against the bill. In further support of this inane argument, Hayes may have uttered the day’s funniest, and most truthful, commentary:

“If Bart Stupak was a Republican crazy he probably would’ve stuck with his original position.”

I couldn’t agree more. Sticking with his original position against the bill, would certainly have qualified Stupak as a Republican crazy. And it is generous of Hayes to admit that holding the Republican view is tantamount to being insane.

Where do you go after you’ve argued that Armageddon will be the result if your alarms are not heeded (as GOP chair Michael Steele did today) and your argument is rejected? Do you moderate your rhetoric and attempt to restore civility to the debate? Or do you accelerate into a frenzied panic and march a phalanx of livid lemmings over a cliff? My money is on the latter, so far as Fox News is concerned. They still consider it to be in their best interests to manufacture the sort of melodrama that captures television audiences.

Here it’s important to remember that the interests of a television network are worlds apart from those of a political party. So while Fox is happy to gin up the rancor in hopes of attracting more viewers stimulated by bloody conflicts, the GOP will only be further damaged by the partnership. However, unfortunately for them, they have nowhere else to go. Fox News, and a few other rightist authors and radio talkers, have become the de facto face of the Republican Party. This is a point made by conservative strategist David Frum in his discussion of health care winners and losers:

Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government.

Frum goes on to predict that the continuing, and escalating, hysteria will be a boon to right-wing media. I’m not sure that I agree with him on that point. Certainly the hardcore disciples of Beck and company will remain glued to their sets. But we might also see audiences recede out of frustration and/or fatigue. After pouring everything they had, including their sanity, into a winner-take-all death match and losing, it would surprise no one if a significant segment of the audience decided to take a vacation from the lunacy. If an effort as determined and prolonged as the one Fox just concluded could not prevail, then what would it take?

The good news from all of this is that, as abhorrent as Fox News is, it ought not to be viewed as a Goliath that will crush any opponent. They gave it their all and came up short. They huffed and they puffed, but the House stood strong (oh wait, that was a wolf). This is the clearest evidence yet that Rupert Murdoch’s empire is a paper Fox. However, that doesn’t mean that it should be neglected. It can still bark ferociously and the other members of the media pack continue to give Fox more credence than they deserve. And for these reasons we must remain vigilant and prepared to respond to the deceitful and unethical practices of this phony pseudo-news enterprise.

In the long term I continue to believe that an informed public will reject Fox’s brand of shallow and divisive disinformation. And looking back, the health care debate may one day be perceived as a turning point. It may be that this long, sordid affair will be the battle that turns the war for responsible journalism to favor reason and truth. It may be Fox News’ Waterloo.

[Update: 3/25/10] David Frum has been dismissed from his job at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. That’s what he gets for going rogue.

NYT: David Brooks vs. The Wizard of Beck

It took long enough. The evidence has been there for years. Somehow it has been inadvertently missed or deliberately ignored by most of the Conventional Media. But the truth has a persistent habit of elbowing its way into the public consciousness.

Today’s New York Times published an editorial by conservative pundit David Brooks that breaks news that most observant analysts have known for months or years: The uber-rightist blowhards on Fox News and talk radio are phony commanders of a tiny, but rabid assortment of fringe-dwelling followers. And the more they are appeased, the farther they venture from reality.

Brooks: “It is a story of remarkable volume and utter weakness. It is the story of media mavens who claim to represent a hidden majority but who in fact represent a mere niche – even in the Republican Party. It is a story as old as “The Wizard of Oz,” of grand illusions and small men behind the curtain.”

Better late than never. The revelation that Brooks is boasting is simply the notion that it’s better to win at the ballot box than on the idiot box. Two months ago I wrote an article that illustrated just how contrary were the concepts of media and political success: As Fox News Goes Up, The GOP Goes Down. A month before that I published an article on how Fox News Is Killing The Republican Party. It explored in detail how the embrace of lunatics and their demented ravings, along with a misunderstanding of the television marketplace, was literally dragging the Republican Party down to some of its lowest historical depths:

Me: “The more the population at large associates Republican ideology with the agenda of Fox News, and the fringe operators residing there, the more the party will be perceived as out of touch, or even out of their minds.”


“Republicans are riding the coattails of Fox News as if it were representative of a booming conservative mandate in the electorate. They are embracing Fox’s most delusional eccentrics. This is leading to the promotion of similar eccentrics within the party. Which brings us the absurd spectacle of the network’s nuts interviewing the party’s pinheads.”

I could even go back to May of 2007 when I wrote The Cult Of Foxonality™ Part I, that argued that Fox viewers had become more attached to the network than to the Republican Party or conservatism.

So Brooks is joining a rather recent parade of pundits who are stepping back from the wacko contingent. Last month the American Enterprise Institute’s David Frum took a swipe at the “reckless defamation” practiced by Glenn Beck. Frum advised that it is beyond time that conservatives begin…

“…emancipating ourselves from leadership by the most stupid, the most cynical, and the most truthless.”

And Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs warned of

“…further marginalization of the GOP unless people start behaving like adults instead of angry kids throwing tantrums and ranting about conspiracies and revolution.”

However, as Brooks appears to have attained enlightenment, he sadly slips back into pundit-speak that betrays his lack of insight. In lamenting the egotistical self-promotion of the ranting class, Brooks blames Democrats for their endurance:

“They still ride the airwaves claiming to speak for millions. They still confuse listeners with voters. And they are aided in this endeavor by their enablers. They are enabled by cynical Democrats, who love to claim that Rush Limbaugh controls the G.O.P.”

What Brooks fails to grasp is that Democrats aren’t enabling Limbaugh, Beck, et al. They are anchoring Republicans with the dead weight of these TV and radio clowns as a means to define an otherwise personality-less party. It isn’t an accident – it’s a strategy. Just as Brooks recognizes that the association of media nutcases with the party is harmful, he should figure out that that is precisely why Democrats are encouraging the association.

The most profound observation in the column was Brooks’ assertion that the problem for Republicans is that “They mistake media for reality.” That is undeniably true for the Party as well as for most of the media. In fact, it is an even bigger problem that the media mistakes itself for reality. And the consequences are devastating for both the practice of journalism and for democracy.

[Purchase FreakShow stickers at Crass Commerce]

Addendum: Neal Gabler has an outstanding editorial in the the Los Angeles Times that addresses these same issues: Politics as religion in America. Highly recommended.

David Frum: GOP Surrenders To Beck’s Mob Rule

In a column that portends a possible recovery by Republicans from their lunatic stupor, David Frum, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and erstwhile conservative icon, has composed a defense of sanity over the “recklessness and political cowardice” represented by the Glenn Becks of the world. Frum’s commentary is supportive of the Cass Sunstein nomination (confirmed yesterday by the Senate) that has drawn attacks from Beck despite being hailed by respected conservatives and free-market economists. Here are a couple of excerpts:

“Glenn Beck is not the first to make a pleasant living for himself by reckless defamation. We have seen his kind before in American journalism and American politics, and the good news is that their careers never last long. But the bad news is that while their careers do last, such people do terrible damage.”


“We conservatives are submitting our movement to some of the most unscrupulous people in American life. This submission disgraces conservatism, discredits Republicans, and damages the country. It’s beyond time for conservatives who know better to join us at NewMajority in emancipating ourselves from leadership by the most stupid, the most cynical, and the most truthless.”

Well said, David. But on this morning, when much of the conservative rabble is applauding the childish antics of Rep. Joe Wilson (who heckled President Obama’s speech on Wednesday), it may be tougher than you think to wean these wankers off of their adulation of clowns like Beck, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and Joe the Plumber. But good luck to you.