UH-OH: DOJ Inspector General To Probe FBI’s ‘Improper’ Handling Of Clinton Investigation

When reviewing the most consequential events of the 2016 presidential election, one strikingly inappropriate action comes immediately to mind. Less than two weeks before the nation voted, FBI Directer James Comey violated a long-held principle of law enforcement. He released confidential and unsubstantiated data concerning an in-progress investigation of Hillary Clinton.

Comey Trump

Comey’s action gave Donald Trump’s campaign a jet-propelled boost at a time when it needed it most. And it left little time for Clinton’s campaign to respond or recover from the political harm. As it turned out, there was nothing of significance in the additional analysis that Comey initiated, but the damage was done.

Thursday morning the Inspector General’s office of the Department of Justice announced that it will be reviewing these events. Requests from member of Congress, outside organizations, and members of the public, spurred the IG to commence this review. According to the Huffington Post, the review will address several specific topics, including:

  • Allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to, the FBI Director’s public announcement on July 5, 2016, and the Director’s letters to Congress on October 28 and November 6, 2016, and that certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations;
  • Allegations that the FBI Deputy Director should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters;
  • Allegations that Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information;
  • Allegations that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI’s release of certain Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016, and the use of a Twitter account to publicize same, were influenced by improper considerations.

These are the most salient issues that desperately need to be resolved. Comey’s behavior was suspiciously beneficial to one political candidate, and this investigation should explore any and all motivations. The IG’s review is being careful not to engage in further partisanship. Consequently, it’s also examining allegations that an assistant AG improperly disclosed non-public information to Clinton’s campaign.

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

It remains to be seen what conclusions will be drawn when the review is complete. There could be consequences for Comey, or it could be swept under the FBI’s rug. Timing will also be critical. If this stretches too long into the Trump administration, and his anticipated purges at the DOJ are effected, then nothing of significance will result. Trump’s people will surely protect him and his allies in the FBI, including Comey. So stay tuned as this developing story continues to unfold.

Fox News: The Most Powerful Propagandist Since Goebbels

Fox News waited until the last day of 2011 to publish the most absurdly hyperbolic piece of journalistic comedy/trash of the year. And that’s a high bar for Fox.

Dan Gainor is a VP for the Media Research Center, an ultra-conservative operation that exists to bash Democrats and advance the myth that the media is liberal. In an op-ed for Fox, Gainor breaks all records for overstatement and ironic tunnel-blindness. He begins the unintentionally hilarious article by declaring that the…

“Huffington Post, HuffPo, as it is sometimes called, has evolved from a simple news aggregator into one of the most sophisticated propaganda operations the world has ever seen. […and that Arianna Huffington is…] the most powerful propagandist since a guy named Goebbels.”

That’s the kickoff to Gainor’s Fox News article that castigates Arianna Huffington and the Huffingtong Post as left-wing missionaries of fascism. [This just in: The CEO of Huffington Post/AOL, Tim Armstrong, has contributed the maximum donation this year to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.]

It doesn’t get much better after that. Gainor carelessly contradicts one of the primary edicts of conservative free marketing: that Fox News and talk radio are so abundantly successful because the media consuming public prefers the conservative message. He says of Huffington that…

“The site was started by political chameleon Arianna Huffington, who used to be conservative before she discovered it was far more lucrative to be liberal.”

There you have it. Apparently the people do want liberal media. From there Gainor goes into a diatribe against HuffPo that would make a much better tirade were it directed at Fox’s own Fox Nation. It’s astonishing how oblivious he is to the twisted irony of his words. For instance, he wonders aghast that “Everywhere you look on the site, Republicans and conservatives are doing something bad.” Replace “Republicans and conservatives” with “Democrats and liberals” and you have a perfect description of Fox Nation. Then he continues his HuffPo rant…

“The few stories that mention Democrats at all are such puff pieces that most journalists would be embarrassed to be associated with them. One shows a baby putting his hand in Obama’s mouth: ‘Obama Gets A Mouthful,’ readers are told in this thoroughly silly story.”

Fox Nation - Obama Eats Baby HandIndeed. A thoroughly silly story that most journalists would be embarrassed to be associated with. Which must be why Fox Nation featured it for six days running as their “Pic of the Day.” And their version was adorned by a mocking headline that evokes child abuse and cannibalism. Would they have chosen that imagery for a white president?

But Gainor is clearly unaware that he is insulting the journalistic integrity of his pals at Fox. Just as he is unaware of the similarity of the following invective aimed at HuffPo to the Fox Nation business model:

“Of course, they don’t write it all themselves. The HuffPo staff is masterful at combing the internet for stories and digging through them for one nugget that makes their point. They write a couple graphs about the nugget, package it with a sometimes huge headline and a stock photo and, voila, their work is done.”

That’s Fox Nation in a wing-nutshell. Except that they write none of it themselves. Every single article on Fox Nation is merely a reference and a link to some other (usually brazenly biased) source. And often its presentation is overtly dishonest as demonstrated here. And Gainor isn’t through yet.

“But the site doesn’t work if it doesn’t generate traffic. After all, Americans aren’t forced to read Arianna’s propaganda. So it’s filled with sex, more sex, comedy and enough other trash to keep people visiting.”

You mean like this? I took a look at Fox Nation’s “Pic of the Day” for just this year and found an abundance of evidence that they are obsessed with naked women, particularly their breasts.

Fox Nation - Sex

And being a young blonde in a short skirt appears to be a prerequisite to be a female reporter on Fox News. Just ask Megyn Kelly, Martha MacCallum, Shannon Bream, Gretchen Carlson, Monica Crowley, Ainsley Earhardt, Courtney Friel, Alisyn Camerota, Molly Line, Molly Henneberg, Julie Banderas, and Steve Doocy. [Oops. I have to scratch one of those. Julie Banderas is not a blonde].

For Gainor to use an editorial on Fox News as a platform to gripe about the Huffington Post being a liberally-slanted web site is an Olympian feat of hypocrisy. But for him to venture off into Nazi references is offensive in the extreme. Arianna Huffington is not responsible for the slaughter of millions of innocents and the comparison to Hitler’s regime trivializes the horror that was the Holocaust. Furthermore, his assessment of HuffPo as biased is an affirmation of acute self-delusion. He is so altogether unaware of his perversion of reality that he can utter this phrase about HuffPo without meaning it sarcastically: “It’s also unmatched on the right.”

Unmatched on the right? Certainly Gainor has read Fox Nation. He is also presumably aware of The Daily Caller, The Blaze, BigGovernment, Townhall, National Review, Weekly Standard, Drudge Report, RedState, WorldNetDaily, Washington Times, NewsMax, and many more.

Gainor’s editorial is typical of the ignorance-inducing disinformation that is the hallmark of Fox News and his own Media Research Center (publisher of the reprehensible net newsrag, NewsBusters). He launches odious insults, accuses his targets of improprieties that he engages in himself, and ignores obvious information if it contradicts his predetermined conclusions. And all of this intellectual mendacity comes together at the start of a new year as if to christen 2012 for a journey to new and more loathsome states of dishonesty and thought control.

Happy New Year, America.

On AOL Acquiring Huffington Post

The announcement last night that Huffington Post is being bought by AOL has already generated a cyber-boatload of analysis, criticism, and speculation – mostly speculation.

I have long had an ambivalent view of HuffPo. While it gives opportunities to some progressives voices who are often shut out of the broader media, it also hosts some reactionary conservatives whose views are unproductive and dishonest. They have also taken a lot of heat for their gossipy celebrity content which I simply ignore.

AOL, although independent from TimeWarner for a little over a year, is still a giant corporation with many of the same principals and shareholders as prior to the separation. And therein lies my pessimism about the future of the HuffPo/AOL alliance.

The last thing independent media needs is more consolidation. By forming ever larger organizations, they fall into the same traps that Big Media always face. Their business mission ends up suppressing whatever aspirations they have for incisive journalism. They pander to advertisers and seek out stories that titillate rather than educate.

Arianna Huffington is predictably excited about the new arrangement. Why wouldn’t she be? The deal puts a value of over $300 million on her six year old venture. And she will become the head of all of AOL’s media properties. But she should be careful. She is also going to have a board of directors to which she will have to answer. And the obligation to appeal to a much broader audience could result in a dilution of any personality. Like other big news enterprises, she will have to cater to the lowest common denominator.

That’s why independence in the media is so precious. It allows for diversity of opinion and is the single best way to produce reporting that challenges the status quo, rattles societies gatekeepers, and enhances accountability. Those are the things we lose as media enterprises get more bloated and reliant on corporate infrastructure.

The combined AOL/HuffPo is still not as big as Fox or Comcast/NBC, and if they struggle mightily they may be able retain some independent identity. But on the whole this is not a promising development, and it is contrary to the direction that media should be heading.

Keith Olbermann To Launch Internet Venture?

Not 24 hours has elapsed since Keith Olbermann shocked the cable news world by announcing that Countdown has reached ignition and been lifted off the MSNBC schedule. And due to the vague explanations offered by the principals, the public is left to their imagination as to what happened.

Today The Wrap is reporting that the move was entirely driven by Olbermann’s desire to become an Internet media baron:

“With two years left on his $7 million a year contract, Olbermann was seeking a full exit package but he really has his eye on creating his own media empire in the style of Huffington Post.”

Why not? It seems like everybody’s doing it.

Back in the day Matt Drudge, a small-time scandal monger, began publishing his conjecture-laden tabloid, The Drudge Report. Then his spawn, the terminally choleric Andrew Breitbart, followed with his BigWhatever network of outright lie sites. Tucker Carlson, the Biggest Loser (who may hold the Guinness record for the number of times he’s been canceled) launched his Daily Caller. Former MSNBC chief Dan Abrams founded Mediaite. Even Glenn Beck jumped on the bandwagon and lit up The Blaze, an appropriate masthead for a purveyor of incendiary rhetoric.

Still the leader in this parade of personality-driven press is The Huffington Post. If Olbermann chooses this model for an online presence it could be profoundly rewarding. He has a built-in following that already resides in cyberspace. He would have no problem attracting investors. He could cover the issues that interest him most and would be free to appear on any television network to discuss the stories he breaks online.

One minor point, last year Tucker Carlson boasted that he had acquired the domain name, keitholbermann.com. It was a typically puerile act on Carlson’s part that was also brazenly hypocritical. Read the whole sordid story here. Olbermann may have to retrieve his name from Carlson, but that shouldn’t be difficult under the current regulations of the World Intellectual Property Organization, the agency governing such matters.

I, for one, would be thrilled to see the launch of the Olbermann Observer Online. But as with everything else that has been written about his future since the surprise announcement, this story is not verified by any authoritative source. Howard Kurtz is saying the separation was the inevitable result of frayed relations between Olbermann and MSNBC management (i.e. the reprehensible Phil Griffin). And the suggestion that Olbermann initiated the departure doesn’t square with his statement that he was “told” that last night was “going to be the last edition” of his show.

MSNBC has already announced schedule changes to shore up the Olbermann hole. Lawrence O’Donnell is moving up to Olbermann’s 8:00pm slot. Ed Schultz will go to primetime to replace O’Donnell at 10:00pm. And Cenk Uygur will fill in for Schultz at 6:00pm.

If it were up to me I’d make additional daytime adjustments as well. There is no reason for two episodes of Chris Matthews’ Hardball in the afternoon. His ratings certainly don’t warrant the real estate. I’d let him have 7:00pm and give the 5:00pm slot to recently retired congressman Alan Grayson, where he would be on opposite Glenn Beck. That’s a ratings war I’d love to see.

The Democratic Path To Victory In The House

MurdochMuch of the media is already predicting a GOP takeover of the House of Representatives. They blast sensationalist headlines that declare a coming Apocalypse for Democrats. This view is being presented as if it is a foregone conclusion.

But there are reasons to suspect their confidence. Polling is notoriously dicey for midterm elections. The Tea Party has certainly fired up a segment of the Republican base, but it is doing the same for Democrats. The youth vote is being significantly under-represented in polling (most pollsters don’t even call cellphones). And the most potent force on the left, “Getting Out The Vote,” may turn expectations on their head as unions, African-Americans, Latinos, seniors, and other progressive constituencies mobilize their members.

Robert Creamer has authored an inspiring story to motivate voters and increase participation in GOTV efforts. Below are some choice excerpts and links to ways you can help.

The Democratic Path to Victory in the House
[T]o beat the odds and win, Democrats must be successful at four key tasks over the next five days.

1). Democrats and their allies must be successful at turning out larger than expected numbers of Latino voters. Polls show Latino voters breaking 65% to 70% Democratic, but their turnout in most Mid-terms falls well below both non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black voters.

2). Democrats need to successfully assure that two key issues are on the minds of the voters at the close of the race: Social Security, and outsourcing jobs.

3). In many districts it is especially important that Democrats are successful in emphasizing the strong personal relationship of voters – especially older voters – with their Member of Congress. And they must also be successful at disqualifying the alternative.

4). First and foremost, for Democrats to beat the odds next Tuesday, our get out the vote operations must function flawlessly. Basically, these operations must defy the “likely voter” models that have dictated the gloomy scenario in most polls.

To volunteer, go to OFA.BO/GOTV
To call swing districts: Call.BarackObama.com. That will automatically give you a targeted list of voters in a swing district.
To volunteer with MoveON with a campaign near your home, go here: www.moveon.org/2010
If you want to call from home, go here: pol.moveon.org/2010
If you want to go to a MoveOn campaign event, go here: pol.moveon.org/event/lastchance

Wednesday morning, don’t say to yourself, “wow, we only lost the House by one seat – and only by a few votes – and I could have changed that.”

There is a pathway for Democratic victory, but it requires we hit on all four of these key cylinders. Too much is at stake to allow any stone to remain unturned. Pick up the phone as soon as you finish reading this. We have five days to change history.

Good advice. Creamer lays out details for each of the points above that are important to know and to relay to your friends and family. The value of your participation in GOTV is incalculable. And it increases exponentially for everyone you persuade to join you.

Don’t let the media decide this election. Don’t let Rupert Murdoch and Fox News get away with installing a far-right cadre of some of the most dangerously demented candidates in history. If we prevail the Tea Party will be over. They can call it a day. And that alone would make the effort worthwhile.

Rupert Murdoch Says 9/11 Is Bullshit And Should Be Forgotten

The faux patriots at Fox Nation are making a habit of exploiting the image of 9/11 and contriving false and negative associations with Democrats. Last week the Fox Nationalists published an article accusing President Obama of desecrating the memory of 9/11 because he supported a National Day of Service to be held in conjunction with other memorials. The view at Fox is that Americans coming together to make a better country is a horrible insult to the anniversary of the terrorist act. So Fox Nation posted this image juxtaposing the burning World Trade Center towers with the President:

Their undisguised intent was to visually associate Obama with a horrific event that he had nothing to do with. Well, today Fox is at it again with an even more repulsive and dishonest defamation:

Just three days after the death of Sen. Kennedy, Fox Nation found a way to denigrate his memory in the same fashion as they did with Obama. In this case, however, they really had to test their capacity for lying because the headline attached to the image is 100% false. The Fox Nationalist’s editors title the item “Huffington Post Compares Kennedy Death to 9/11.” But the Huffington Post did no such thing. There was no article about Kennedy and 9/11 at all, much less one comparing them. The headline is a blatant, brazen, bald-faced lie.

The article that Fox Nation links to is from Newsbusters, the uber-conservative media watch/lap dog of Brent Bozell’s propaganda tank, the Media Research Center. Newsbusters reported that Matt Cooper, editor of Conde Nast Portfolio, tweeted:

“It feels a bit like 9/11 on Martha’s Vineyard. End-of-summer weather is achingly beautiful but the mood is melancholy because of Teddy.”

For the record: After receiving some replies on Twitter that questioned whether the simile was appropriate, Cooper tweeted that he had clumsily stated his observation and only meant that both were otherwise pleasant summer days that were marred by sadness, and that is was not a comparison of Kennedy’s death to the 3,000 murders on 9/11.

So, what does Cooper’s tweet have to do with the Huffington Post? Absolutely nothing. There was no article on HuffPo that was remotely associated with this. However, Cooper has written articles in the past that appeared on HuffPo. The last one was in December 2008. So according to Fox Nation, if you are the editor of Portfolio, but you wrote something for HuffPo nine months ago, and then you tweet something on your personal Twitter account not affiliated with either publication, then obviously you are speaking for the Huffington Post and even your misstatements are attributable to them.

And best of all, for the Fox Nationalists, is that you get to post a disgusting image that conflates the recently deceased senator with a national catastrophe, and place it all above a headline that is a lie.

So did Rupert Murdoch actually say that 9/11 is bullshit? Well he is certainly exploiting it for crass political purposes which could be construed as regarding it as excrement that is not worthy of respect. So by that measure, my headline is just as accurate as the one on Fox Nation.

Huffington Post: A Tool For The GOP?

Michael Calderone has a column at Politico that suggests a new tactical approach by Republicans to get their message out. He asserts, that the GOP is exploiting the broad reach of the Huffington Post to expand their media presence. It’s not a particularly bad idea as HuffPo is cracking 8.8 million unique visitors a month. But it is a cynical effort to advance propaganda and, to the extent that HuffPo is an accessory to it, it is shameful and counterproductive.

The insidious element to this plot is that the GOP isn’t trying to reach out to new voters or gain access to people that might not otherwise be exposed to their views. They are taking advantage of the popular web site to use as a platform from which to launch their viewpoints into more mainstream media in much the same way that conservatives have used the Drudge Report. In his column, Calderone interviewed a collection of Republican press reps who confess to this strategy.

John Hart, press secretary to Sen. Tom Coburn: [I]t’s one of a handful of sites that can have an instant impact on the national debate.

Brian Rogers, spokesman for Sen. John McCain: HuffPo and [Talking Points Memo] really are the assignment editors for many in the Washington press corps – particularly the cables.

Brad Dayspring, press secretary for Rep. Eric Cantor: The reality is that at the end of the day, like them or dislike them, sites like The Huffington Post, Plum Line, Salon, and others can drive news.

Michael Steel, press secretary for House Republican leader John Boehner: Republican aides [are] being sure to engage with liberal websites like Huffington Post – just because for no other reason than they drive a lot of cable coverage.

Alex Conant, former RNC national press secretary: When I was at the RNC, it wasn’t something that could be ignored. To the contrary, I thought the more we could work with them – recognizing they had a bias – the better off we were.

Republicans are well aware that much of the audience at HuffPo is not sympathetic to their cause. But that’s irrelevant. Part of the strategy is to drive a wedge between the Democratic establishment and its activist base. Another part is just to garner more publicity:

“Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grim, a former POLITICO staffer, said that after the House leadership released a video earlier this month questioning the White House on national security, a senior House Republican aide reached out to make sure he’d received it – that’s despite knowing how the site would probably play the story (and how commenters would react).

The piece that resulted – “House GOP Obama Ad Aims to Terrify” – likely appealed to liberal Huffington Post readers, while also drawing attention to the Republican clip, which is what the party wanted all along.


Liz Mair, former RNC online communications director: While I certainly never expected left-of-center sites to echo our message, giving them access to information or background they needed to report accurately (if not favorably) was certainly something I thought of (and think of) as useful, given that their audience is not solely comprised of Democratic activists, and given that storylines that begin on left-of-center blogs frequently find their way onto the nightly news and into other outlets where a lot of swing voters get their information.

HuffPo, for it’s part is not the least bit concerned about how they are being used. Arianna Huffington told Politico that the attention the site gets from Republicans…

“…is a reflection of our traffic, our brand, and the fact that we are increasingly seen … as an Internet newspaper, not positioned ideologically in terms of how we cover the news.”

HuffPo is, of course, a business, and it has every right to pursue a mission that furthers it’s financial interests. However, if their stock in trade is their audience, then there is something untoward about exploiting them to benefit an ideological opponent. In other words, HuffPo should not be permitted to sell us out to right-wing flacks who just want to do us harm. If it is our patronage that makes HuffPo such a valuable asset, perhaps we ought not to be so patronizing.

There is nothing wrong with providing a forum that presents diverse opinions and perspectives. But there is a limit reached when you are seen by one side as simply an avenue to advance their public profile, further their media strategy, and beat you, and your audience, over the head with your own bat. You know you’ve reached that limit when Grover Norquist says of you…

“There are fewer better places to refute the opening bid by the [Democrats] than to plant your flag in the middle of The Huffington Post.”

HuffPo would be wise to consider that, if it is their readers that make them an appealing political community, they may want to avoid alienating those readers by serving the interests of their opponents. How many HuffPo readers would continue to visit the site were it to turn into a fancier version of the Drudge Report? And once readership scales back, how many Republicans would still view it as a useful platform?

Continuing down this path would be a downward spiral for HuffPo. They should take note of this and correct course as soon as possible. The market has no need for an Internet news/community that caters to the far right. They already have Fox Nation.

The Fox Nation Launches A Dud

This morning there was a disturbance in the Force. The Fox Nation debuted amidst fanfare and the gnashing of teeth at tea parties everywhere. However, reports of the Fox News secession movement appear to have been a little overblown (by me, mostly). The reality of the Fox Nation is significantly less substantial than previously predicted.

The Fox Nation is apparently not an attempt to abandon the Union (although my satirical representation of it as such was actually taken seriously by some right-wing conspiracy theorists across the InterTubes). It is merely a low grade, right-wing, knockoff of the Huffington Post. The partisan character of its Fox News parentage, however, is plainly visible. The “fair and balanced “ collection of articles featured at the top of its page (see picture above) present the President as “scary” and promote the rightist triumvirate of Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and Beck (oh my). Digging down further we find a plethora of partisanship in reporting:

  • Chris Dodd’s cavalcade of scandal
  • Lobbyist scandal to ensnare Murtha?
  • Dick Morris: Obama soft on terror, hard on charities
  • Daily Beast: Who did Pelosi’s face?
  • Affirmative Action for Muslims in the White House?
  • Stacked!! Obama fills town hall with supporters
  • Hannity holding Tea Party on Tax Day
  • WaPo interrogation story ‘rife with misinformation’
  • Video: Bill Maher smears US troops
  • Limbaugh ratings skyrocket after Democrat attacks

Of course the headlines on Fox Nation must not be taken too seriously. For instance, the article about Obama stacking his town hall with supporters doesn’t actually produce any evidence of that being done. In fact, it reports that invitations were sent to many groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. With regard to the Huffington Post, Fox Nation takes a swipe at them as well, with an article derogatorily titled, “Huffington Post to rummage through your trash.” The actual article is about a new investigative journalism venture by HuffPo, not some dumpster diving sensationalism. We’ll leave that to Fox. Recall also that O’Reilly has compared Arianna Huffington to Nazis. I don’t expect it will be long before he and the rest of the Fox lineup will escalate their war against HuffPo as a competitor the way they have with NBC.

Obviously the intent of Fox Nation is to inject a negative tone whether or not anyone ever clicks through to the articles. And it’s revealing to take a look at the heavily right-weighted array of news sources employed on Fox Nation – including four owned by Rupert Murdoch:

  • New York Post (Murdoch)
  • Wall Street Journal (Murdoch)
  • Fox Business Network (Murdoch)
  • The Sun (Murdoch)
  • Townhall.com
  • Michele Malkin
  • Andrew Breitbart
  • Washington Times
  • NewsBusters
  • National Review
  • Conservative Express
  • NewsMax
  • Matt Drudge

In the end, the Fox Nation is nothing more than a dressed up version of the Fox Forums that already pollute the web. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a potential threat to civil discourse and domestic tranquility. Fox Nation aggregates the Fox audience under a single banner that gives them an identity and a flag to fly. The comments section is as ideologically monochromatic as you would expect from the Fox stable of so-called “news” enterprises. It is also overtly hostile to anyone not sufficiently attuned to neo-Dark-Age conservatism. The community, hyped as “a place to call home,” is as rabidly anti-Obama as it is bewitched by Beck.

It’s still early, and perhaps this is just the first phase of the eventual division of America. It goes without saying that Fox has as its purpose to be divisive and that Fox Nation is in alignment with purpose. It just remains to be seen how far they will go. And for this reason it remains important to keep an eye on future developments.

This just in: Fox News Senior VP Bill Shine says of Fox Nation, “We’re calling it a mix between the Huffington Post and Drudge.” Hmmm.

Fox News: Want Terrorists In Your Back Yard?

President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order today aimed at restoring the rule of law, as well as our nation’s commitment to human rights. He reiterates the message in his inaugural speech that we are not bound by “a false choice between our safety and our ideals.” The order provides for the…

“…closure of the Guantanamo detention center no later than one year from the date of the Order. Closure of the facility is the ultimate goal but not the first step. The Order establishes a review process with the goal of disposing of the detainees before closing the facility.”

Despite specifications that the Order be implemented in a manner that regards the welfare of the American people as the highest priority, Fox News via their Fox Forum has a posting that asks, “Would You Want Terrorists In Your Back Yard?” The blatant unfairness and imbalance of that question is typical of Fox News. Obviously, no one is proposing that the detainees be released into anyone’s petunia gardens. The Order requires a thorough review to determine how best to proceed toward a goal of bringing terrorists to justice and disposing of others appropriately.

It should be remembered that the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have not been convicted of, or even charged with, any misdeeds. For justice to prevail, those who may be guilty must be arraigned and prosecuted so that they can be punished. The rest should have their cases reviewed to determine if they represent a threat, and then dealt with accordingly. Even POWs are eventually repatriated. The problem with this war is that the enemy is an amorphous cloud of evildoers that cannot be certifiably defeated. There will be no ceremony on the deck of a battleship where the enemy leader surrenders his sword. How long, then, should the U.S. incarcerate alleged combatants without even permitting them a defense? Obama’s EO puts an end to this quandary.

The question posed on the Fox Forum has inspired over 2,300 responses at the time of this writing. Some of them illustrate the sick and twisted pathology of Foxism. Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly condemned web sites like Daily Kos and the Huffington Post because he found a few repugnant remarks by anonymous commenters. He is apparently too stupid to understand that open forums sometimes result in expressions of free speech that are indefensible. So he blames the site and attributes the sentiments to its operators. This has led to his over-the-top assertions that Arianna Huffington and Markos Moulitsas are worse than the Nazis and the KKK.

Well now it’s time for O’Reilly to demonstrate his fairness and consistency. Comments on the Fox blog refer to Obama as a terrorist; as the anti-Christ; they wish for his family to be burned alive; they threaten assassination by invoking Lincoln’s fate at the Ford Theater. Does O’Reilly attribute those sentiments to Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch? Will he condemn Fox News for hosting these comments:

Tom BB: America’s enemies rejoice now around the world and in the US. Obama the terrorist is in charge.

Steven: Hell No! Obama is of the devil!


Jim: The Antichrist has arrived and is doing well in the White House. Say goodbye to what we all know as a free and God loving America.


Don Brown: Obama needs to be checked to see if he has a 666 somewhere on his body.

To be clear, these examples are the bottom of the Fox barrel. But the vast majority of comments on the Fox Forum were in opposition to the closing of Guantanamo. What surprises me about that is the fierce lack of confidence that these people have in American ideals and law. Why don’t they believe that justice, if allowed to work, would not prevail? Why don’t they believe that American values would produce a just result? Why are they so dismissive of the Constitution and its capacity to bring about the right ends? It seems to me that they are decidedly skeptical as to the merits of our nation’s founding principles. Isn’t that, by definition, unpatriotic?

Personally, I don’t attribute the remarks of anonymous commenters to the whole of Fox News. The anchors and correspondents do just fine themselves incriminating the network with their prejudices and disinformation. The Fox blogging community simply reflects that bias. And O’Reilly is the leader of the pack. That’s why I don’t expect him to have the integrity to be consistent. He will neither repudiate these remarks, nor criticize Fox News for promoting them. And he won’t retract his condemnations of others whom he disparaged for doing the very same thing. That’s just the way he is. He’s a sanctimonious, hypocritical, demagogue, who is fixated on disseminating his agenda of lies. His audience has found him, and he has found his home in the arms of Rupert Murdoch. I’m sure they are all very happy together.