Trump’s Attorney Genuflect Bill Barr is Turning the DOJ Into an Internet Troll Farm.

The devolution of American politics has been noticeable on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter for some time. The rancid outbursts and shrill animosity is inescapable. Much of what is posted is flagrantly false and rooted in crackpot conspiracy theories concocted by foreign, adversarial governments like Russia. And sadly, Donald Trump is one of the foremost diseminaters of this toxic dialog,

Donald Trump, Bill Barr

This online divisiveness and hatred has also been adopted by official representatives of the Trump regime. The wild assertions that many of them make in public – and particularly on Fox News – are indistinguishable from the trolls that inhabit the darkest recesses of the Intertubes. A perfect example of that occurred in a commentary by Trump’s Attorney General, William Barr, during a recent interview with Martha MacCallum of Fox News. Barr seems to be making a habit of these appearances. On this occasion, MacCallum asked him about remarks he made during a speech that was rife with the stench of political partisanship (video below):

MacCallum: You talked in your piece about “social justice DAs” … What does that mean?
Barr: Well, there’s this recent development where George Soros has been coming in, in largely Democratic primaries where there has not been much voter turnout and putting in a lot of money to elect people who are not very supportive of law enforcement and don’t view the office as bringing to trial and prosecuting criminals but pursuing other social agendas. And they have started to win in a number of cities and they have, in my view, not given the proper support to the police. And they’re following policies that are ultimately gonna lead to an increase in violent crime and more victims.

There’s a lot of ugliness to unpack in that diatribe, beginning with Barr’s reference to George Soros. The right-wing Internet has been attacking Soros for years with vile inferences of evil intent and world domination. The attacks were typically comprised of common anti-Semitic tropes that accuse Jews of seeking to control everything from the banks to the media to the moral fabric of society. And as a self-made billionaire, Soros was used by the right to symbolize the most repulsive lies propagated by conservative hate groups. And now Barr is doing the same thing by asserting that Soros has some otherworldly power to shape society in terrible and frightening ways.

Barr’s accusation naturally springs from Soros’ wealth as the tool of his dastardly deeds. Great wealth, however, is only seen as the Devil’s plaything when it’s held by liberals. According to Barr, Soros is “putting in a lot of money” to install his minions in the upper ranks of law enforcement. And from there, Barr believes, they will implement an agenda that frees up villains to embark on unfettered crime sprees.

What’s more, Barr also says that any effort to hold the police accountable for bad behavior is an expression of disrespect. Of course, the opposite is the truth. Wanting the police to have the best reputations for honorable service is far more respectful than ignoring and excusing their faults. But to Barr, any constructive criticism should be viewed as “not supporting the police” for which the result could be that citizens “may not get the police protection they need.” That’s an overt and irresponsible threat that shouldn’t be tolerated coming from the chief law enforcement officer of the United States.

The assertion that Democrats are hostile to law enforcement is demonstrably false, but it’s been a longstanding plank in the Republican platform. Trump himself has alleged that Democrats actually want more crime. He tweeted earlier this year that “the Radical Democrats are a Party of open borders and crime.” And that’s just one example of many.

What we’re seeing from these officials in Washington today is the sort of extremist garbage that was once reserved for the likes of Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. But now it has been openly taken up by Trump and Barr. It is worse than merely insulting and dishonest. It is insane and dangerous. And yet, it is now routinely a part of the discourse by the White House and its surrogates. This needs to stop ASAP. If not by impeachment and removal from office, than at the ballot box in November.

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

Kavanaugh to Be Interviewed On Fox News, the Network that Employed Multiple Sexual Predators

If you were looking for a sign that the Donald Trump White House is getting desperate with regard to the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, they just showed their cards. Fox News has announced – and Trump tweeted a promo for – Kavanaugh’s appearance Monday night on Fox News with Martha MacCallum.

Fox News Alert

There could not be a clearer indicator of Trump’s worrying that his nominee is floundering and is at risk for an embarrassing failure. It is unprecedented for a Supreme Court nominee to go on television to advance his nomination and defend himself against allegations that haven’t even been raised in Congress or investigated by the FBI.

What’s worse is that the television platform chosen by Kavanaugh (or was it the White House?) is Fox News. That’s the network whose founder and CEO, Roger Ailes, was fired due to multiple complaints of sexual harassment and assault. It’s the network whose biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, was fired for the same reasons, after paying out tens of millions of dollars in hush money to his victims. It’s the network whose president, Bill Shine, was fired for his shoddy handling of those affairs and his enabling of the wrongdoers. Shine is now Trump’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications.

With a history of such tawdry behavior by Fox News, it seems to be a highly inappropriate media outlet to try to whitewash Kavanaugh’s history of alleged abuses. And the choice of Martha MacCallum to interview Kavanaugh is also troubling. Obviously they didn’t want a man like Sean Hannity to do it. So they picked a woman who was one of Ailes’ first and most vigorous defenders. And it needs to be noted also that, while Kavanaugh is swatting softballs from MacCallum on Fox News, his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford has more respectfully declined any television offers:

“As I am not a lawyer or a Senator, I am relying on them and you to ensure that the committee will agree to conditions that allow me to testify in a fair setting that won’t disrupt families and become a media tv show. […] I have received an inordinate number of requests to appear on major TV shows to elucidate further information, to which I have not responded. My goal is to return soon to my workplace, once it is deemed safe for me and importantly, my students.”

The distasteful decision to parade Kavanaugh and his wife on TV in the hopes of generating some public sympathy is more evidence of how Trump is turning the White House into a Reality TV presidency. It’s all about making impressions and convincing the American people not to vote them off the island. And on that score they are failing miserably. Polls show that a majority of people oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation. And that was before the latest charges were revealed. But if you’re moved by his revelation that he was a virgin until “many years” after high school, than you won’t want to miss this interview (Note: Kavanaugh being a virgin doesn’t make Dr. Ford’s allegations false. She never claimed that there was intercourse):

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

Watch Fox News Freak Out Over Doug Jones Victory, Pretend They Never Wanted Roy Moore Anyway

The good people of Alabama came through on Tuesday and elected the decent senate candidate (Doug Jones) rather than the racist, crackpot, pedophile (Roy Moore). That doesn’t absolve the a-holes in Alabama who voted for Moore, but it’s an encouraging sign that positive changes are coming. The only way to characterize this outcome is as a monumental transformation for a state that hasn’t elected a Democratic senator for a quarter of century.

Fox News

But leave it to Fox News to find other ways to characterize such an obviously anti-Trump, anti-Republican event. And it only took a matter of seconds for Fox to try to recast the Jones win as something positive for the GOP. Anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum were plainly unhappy with the call. Less than a minute after announcing that Jones would win the senate seat once held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Fox went into hyper-spin mode saying this (video below):

MacCallum: “You know there was a lot of discussion about whether a Roy Moore win would be a win, really, for the GOP. And there’s some questions tonight about whether or not there’s some silver lining, perhaps, for Republicans tonight. A victory by Moore, who was embroiled in a sex scandal, might have made it more difficult for the GOP to have gained control of the Senate in next year’s midterm elections.”

There’s so much to unpack here. Let’s start with the eagerness of Fox News to abandon Moore, the candidate they have been pimping for months. They are pretending that his loss is actually what they wanted all along. If they think this will be taken this seriously, it is a bitter insult to their dimwitted viewers. However, they know their viewers best, and they are probably right. The Fox audience would need a “silver lining” or a security blanket and a binky after what happened last night.

What’s more, by virtually conceding that Moore’s “sex scandal” would have been a major obstacle to the GOP’s electoral prospects next year, they are validating the very same case against Donald Trump. Actually, not quite the same. Trump has been accused by more women of more repulsive acts of harassment and abuse. If Fox News thinks that Moore’s loss will make those crimes go away they are deeply delusional. They will surely work hard to bury Trump’s reprehensible behavior, but in the comment above they have recognized that it cannot, and will not, be dismissed.

Finally, MacCallum’s phrasing is curious. The GOP does not have to “gain control” of the Senate next year. They currently have control. What she might be worried about is the growing possibility of Democrats assuming control of both houses of Congress. And once again, whatever difficulty she thinks the GOP would have had with Moore in the Senate isn’t going to be resolved as long Trump is in the White House.

Speaking of Trump, he also made an effort to distance himself from Moore after the loss. He tweeted that:

There is no record of Trump ever saying that Moore would “not be able to win.” What record there is of Trump’s endorsement was deleted from his Twitter feed (here and here and here). He also deleted a tweet congratulating Moore and cheering him on to victory. Ever since Moore won the GOP primary, Trump has been behind him. He even recorded a robo-call and staged a rally just across the Alabama border in Florida to whip up support. But following Moore’s loss, Trump has unceremoniously kicked him to the curb and proclaimed the he was right all along (as he always is in his sociopathic, narcissistic imagination).

These weren’t the only kicks Moore suffered. Other Fox News hosts were equally as dismissive. Ainsley Earhardt on Trump’s favorite show, Fox and Friends, said that “This was not a referendum on Trump. I feel like it was a referendum on Harvey Weinstein.” Her fellow “Curvy Couch” potato, Todd Piro, added that he didn’t want to be a “Pollyanna,” noting that the Republicans still have a one seat majority in the senate. Isn’t that a little too obvious an expression of Republican bias, even for Fox News? And Laura Ingraham giddily opined that “Jones is a lame duck from day one. He has zero chance of winning in 2020. This state loves Trump. This is not an anti-Trump result.”

For the record, Trump’s approval rating in Alabama, according to exit polls, was a 48-48 percent split, with “strongly approve” at 32 percent and “strongly disapprove” at 41 percent. Those are catastrophic numbers for Trump and Republicans in Alabama. And Trump’s approval nationwide is even worse. But don’t expect Fox News to acknowledge that. They are on a mission to implant happy-talk in the minds of their glassy-eyed viewers who need some cheering up. That, however, won’t last long. Fox has already segued to renewed outrage over Hillary Clinton’s emails and denigrating special counsel Robert Mueller as treasonous abomination of justice. Just another day of shrill propaganda for Fox News.

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

Sarah Palin Redux: Hillary Clinton Pallin’ Around With Terrorists? Here We Go Again

Fading reality TV loser and notorious political quitter, Sarah Palin, hasn’t been heard from much lately. Her sightings on Fox News have become rare, with the last appearance sometime back in January. Unfortunately, her unique brand of dementia seems to be enduring as one of her classically idiotic themes made a comeback on the Fox Nation website:

Hillary's Benghazi-Qaeda Brotherhood

A featured article on Fox Nation was topped with a headline that declared that “Hillary’s Terror-Tied Aide Had Full Access to Benghazi E-Mails.” This immediately brings to mind the memory of Palin’s famously loony “pallin’ around with terrorists” allegation that falsely tried to tie then-candidate Barack Obama to former Weather Underground radical (now mild-mannered college professor) Bill Ayers.

The reprise of this stupidity is based on the thoroughly discredited accusations that Clinton aide Huma Abedin is a deep-cover agent of the Muslim Brotherhood who is plotting to destroy America from within. Never mind that Abedin, who was born in Michigan, has been a trusted and respected public servant for many years. The charges against her were originally leveled by congressional “intelligence” experts, Michelle Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, and other Tea Party fruitcakes.

When the terrorist slurs first began circulating they were shot down by everyone that knew Abedin, including prominent Republicans. House Speaker John Boehner defended her saying that she had a “sterling character.” Lindsey Graham called the attacks on her “ridiculous.” John McCain praised her saying that she “represents what is best about America” and that the charges were “an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman.” Ed Rollins, who managed Bachmann’s presidential campaign, repudiated the attacks as “downright vicious.”

The Fox Nation article links to the ultra-rightist propagandists at Truth Revolt, a website that was founded by Breitbart Editor-at-Large, Ben Shapiro. Truth Revolt, in turn referenced the conspiracy crackpots at WorldNetDaily, who are still grasping feverishly to the birther nonsense. The WND article was written by Aaron Klein, who believes that Obama might be a Muslim who sides with Al Qaeda. So Truth Revolt re-posts WND and Fox Nation re-posts Truth Revolt, with an opening paragraph that launches into a surreal fantasy:

“It has been revealed that Huma Abedin, senior aide to Hillary Clinton, had access to Clinton’s personal e-mails including highly-sensitive details surrounding Benghazi. Abedin is also accused of having ties to Muslim extremist groups. […] WND reports personal and familial ties between Abedin, the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as al Qaeda.”

There you have it. With absolutely no factual basis, Fox News has bought into scurrilous charges against a respectable woman, associating her with America’s most virulent enemies. And as an additional bonus, Fox worked in a mention of their favorite recurring non-scandal, Benghazi.

If there is anyone left who still thinks that Fox News is a reputable journalism enterprise, or that they might have moderated their extremist views since the last presidential election, this should put an end to those fallacies. As the next presidential cycle gets into gear, it is clear that Fox intends to ramp up the crazy to levels at least as deranged as those in 2008 and 2012. So here come the terrorist charges against the presumptive Democratic nominee. Because if you’re a Tea Party wingnut it isn’t enough to merely have policy disputes with political rivals, you must demonize them as threats to the continued existence of mankind.

As evidence of this trend, note the latest outrage being hyped on Fox News. It’s a brief video clip that shows Clinton politely asking a supporter to take her place in line in order to get a photo with the candidate.

On Fox News this is proof that Clinton is an Ice Queen who cannot relate to regular humans. Of course, the fact that the video is chopped into a fragment that fails to put Clinton’s encounter in context is irrelevant to the spinners at Fox. To them it is more important to create an artificial persona for Clinton that makes her look mean and elitist. And surprisingly, an anchor at Fox actually admitted that it is their intention to promote this video misrepresentation.

Martha MacCallum: Oh my, why don’t you go to the end of the line. When I saw this yesterday, this is just gonna get played over and over here, and elsewhere, and this is not good for Hillary Clinton regardless of what the circumstances exactly were.
Byron York: I should say that some people have looked at the whole video and Mrs. Clinton was actually trying to accommodate the people who had lined up to see her. But it points really to a bigger problem.

So MacCallum admits that Fox will put this video on an endless loop even if the impression it leaves is false. And her guest confesses that in the uncut video Clinton’s behavior was entirely appropriate, but that doesn’t matter when you are trying to slander her.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

That’s the sort of dishonesty and bias that has been the hallmark of Fox News. Consequently, it’s not particularly surprising that they are continuing to debase journalism just as they have from their inception. What’s a little surprising is that they are openly admitting it even as they are doing it. That shows how certain they are that they can get away with their deceit without any repercussions. They know very well that their audience couldn’t care less about truth or lies, even if they could tell the difference.

ABSOLUTELY UN-AMERICAN: Fox News And Darrell Issa Squelch Democrats In IRS Hearing

In an extraordinary hearing Wednesday morning, Republicans put on a display of tyrannical suppression of speech that would make the Taliban green with envy.

Fox News

Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (and recidivist criminal), called to order a hearing on allegations that the IRS targeted conservative groups for enhanced scrutiny on their applications for tax-exempt status. The sole item on the agenda was testimony from former IRS official Lois Lerner. Lerner had previously notified the committee that she would be exercising her Fifth Amendment right to decline to answer questions. Ignoring that, Issa scheduled the hearing anyway as a sideshow that he hoped would embarrass his Democratic colleagues. His strategy blew up in his face.

After making a five minute opening statement, Issa proceeded to ask a series of questions, each time eliciting the same response from Lerner saying that, on advice of counsel, she was exercising her constitutional right to decline to answer. Since Issa already knew that Lerner would not be testifying, it is clear that his only purpose was to hear himself ask a bunch of questions that he framed to imply something incriminating. But it’s what happened next that demonstrates just how disreputable and dictatorial Issa is. [Full video of the hearing via C-SPAN]

Upon completing his opening statement and faux inquiry, the committee’s ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings, began his opening statement, as is the practice of congressional proceedings. However, Issa immediately cut him off and ordered the hearing adjourned. Issa did not permit Cummings, or any other Democrat to utter a single word on the record. And after silencing Cummings, Issa stomped out of the hearing room.

Not surprisingly, this outraged Cummings who insisted on having his time to address the committee and the witness. Whereupon Issa instructed his staff to cut Cummings microphone off. Cummings valiantly persevered without a mic and made his objections known. He pointed out that Issa’s behavior was one-sided, wrong, and “absolutely un-American.”

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Get your copy of Fox Nation vs. Reality today at Amazon.

The coverage on Fox News of this shameful display of Republican hubris was pretty much what you might expect. Fox broadcast most of Issa’s opening statement and questions. Then, when Cummings began to speak, Fox curtailed their coverage after showing a brief portion of the dust-up between Issa and Cummings. Fox did not show any of the remarks Cummings made after Issa walked out of the room. Ironically, Fox host Martha MacCallum said that “We’re trying to give equal time to both of these gentlemen here.” Apparently equal time on Fox News is seven uninterrupted minutes of a Republican harangue and 42 seconds of a Democratic response.

Following the hearing, the same measure of biased coverage occurred when Issa and Cummings addressed the press. Fox again broadcast Issa’s press conference in its entirety, but cut away as Cummings approached the same podium from which Issa had just finished speaking. Fox aired none of Cummings remarks to the press. [Full video of the press avails via C-SPAN]

To matters even worse, Fox aired a segment about the hearing shortly afterward with a reporter from U.S. News and World Report. In addressing concerns by Lerner that she was getting death threats, Fox host Jon Scott made this unbelievably grotesque comment:

“I can see why if you’re getting death threats, maybe you wouldn’t want to open yourself up to more scrutiny. But at the same time, it would seem that answering some of the questions might cause some of these people who are so angry to ease up if she’s got legitimate answers for why the IRS did what it did.”

In other words, just comply with the demands of those making death threats and maybe they won’t kill you. See? Problem solved.

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After numerous hearings, testimony from more than three dozen IRS employees, and review of thousands of pages of documents, the Issa Inquisition has proven none of its allegations about corruption, partisanship, or White House involvement. What Issa has proven is that he is a brazenly dishonest hack who has repeatedly deceived the public and the media by issuing reports and releasing documents that he purposefully manipulated to create a falsely negative impression of malfeasance by Democrats. In the process he would systematically remove any data that contradicted his fictional version of events.

As for Fox News, they could not have been more obviously biased in their coverage of this affair. In all they broadcast about a quarter hour of Issa’s propaganda and less than a minute of the Democratic side of the debate. What’s more, they are already promoting appearances by Issa (and only Issa) on Fox News later today. And not once has Fox made note of the fact that Issa, and his GOP led committee, held an unprecedented hearing where only he was allowed to speak.

[Update 3/6/14] The Congressional Black Caucus has put forward a motion to condemn Darrell Issa for his tyrannical abuse of power and to remove him from the chairmanship of the committee. However, Speaker John Boehner has already expressed his continuing support for Issa whom Boehner believes acted appropriately.

Also, Media Matters has obtained and posted the emails that Issa referenced during his sham hearing. Consistent with Issa’s repeated acts of deception and partisan cherry-picking of information to make public, these emails actually prove that IRS director Lois Lerner was taking great pains to avoid any politicization of the agencies activities. As usual, when all the information is made available, it shows that Issa and Co. have lied through their teeth.

IRS Email

Fox News Dementia: Media Is Not As Hard On Obama/Syria As They Were On Bush/Iraq

On Fox News this morning there was a segment debating the media coverage of the “Crisis in Syria” (video below). On any other network this would have been a legitimate subject for debate and a fascinating topic. But leave it to Fox News to broadcast a version of history that makes Snow White’s adventures with seven diminutive forest dwellers look like a PBS documentary.

Fox’s Martha MacCallum opened the segment with a declarative motion for which she provided no factual basis: “Critics are suggesting that the media is not nearly as hard on President Obama about the potential of going into Syria, as they were on President Bush and his war that he fought in Iraq.” The reliance on a ghostly assemblage of unnamed critics is a variant of the “some say” tactic of inventing a premise with which a lazy commentator can project a dishonest argument. But it was just the lead-in that conservative guest Monica Crowley required to say this:

“Most of the media were very skeptical about any kind of military intervention in Iraq. They raised a lot of very legitimate questions. They also pounded President Bush and his team relentlessly in the run-up, during the war and of course even still to this day over that war. […] It was just the fact that it was President Bush prosecuting this war. When you look at the difference between that coverage and the coverage of President Obama…in this run-up to a possible action in Syria, it’s like night and day.”

Fox News
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Indeed, it is like night and day. But not in any way meant by Crowley. Prior to the Iraq war, the media was in virtual unanimity with respect to supporting Bush and his fraudulent escapade. Even the factions of the media that are most often regard as liberal enclaves were banging the drums of war.

Recall that it was the New York Times that employed Judith Miller (now with Fox News) who was instrumental in providing cover for the Bush administration’s pro-war agenda. She was a trusty vessel for the dissemination of propaganda from Bush’s war hawks. She was the reporter most responsible for validating false intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s weapons capabilities and ambitions.

If you watched MSNBC at the time, you might recall that the top rated program was hosted by talk show legend Phil Donahue. He was a prominent skeptic of the looming U.S. invasion of Iraq. Consequently, the management of MSNBC viewed him as a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war.” His show was canceled in February of 2003, shortly before the invasion.

The media presentation of dissent was nearly non-existent. Despite the fact that millions of Americans took to the streets to protest the war, the media declined to cover the demonstrations. Contrast that with the way they slobbered over a few malcontents in a tiny and unpopular political sect known as the Tea Party, and a handful of their hollering rubes at town hall meetings ranting about their opposition to health care.

The characterization of the media as going soft on Obama with regard to Syria is also delusional in the extreme. As expected, Fox News has been harshly critical of Obama no matter what he does. Last week they hammered him for taking a unilateral stance and failing to consult Congress on a possible reprisal for Syria’s chemical weapons deployment. This week they are bashing him for wasting time with congressional consultations and weakening the presidency by seeking them. What’s more, Obama has come in for criticism by pundits on the left like Rachel Maddow and Thom Hartmann and even Jon Stewart.

The right-wing directive to refrain from criticizing a president during international hostilities is apparently only in effect when a Republican is in the White House. Critics of Bush were often called traitors when they expressed their opposition to his policies. But outraged Tea-publicans are now encouraged to disparage the Commander-in-Chief in the most vile terms. Today it is the President who is called a traitor by right-wing protesters who fancy themselves as patriots.

In light of these facts, it is incomprehensible how Crowley can take to the Fox News channel and offer a twisted version of history wherein Obama is getting a pass and Bush suffered outrageous slings and arrows. And what is even more disturbing is that so many Fox News viewers are too dimwitted to separate the Fox fallacy from reality.

Fox News Deception Jumps Completely Off The Scale

Just a month after Fox News was caught reading verbatim from a Republican press release and presenting it as a news story, they have now dipped into territory that is so thoroughly unethical that it boggles the mind.

Media Matters caught a segment hosted by Martha MacCallum wherein she presented a state of affairs that she felt deserved a looking into.:

“Well, after weeks of economic doom and gloom, the Obama administration is now singing a slightly different tune. Take a look at what was said in recent interviews this weekend.”

Thereupon she played a video montage of President Obama and members of his staff saying positive things about the future prospects of our economy. Since Fox News spent most of last week complaining that Obama was too negative, it is ironic that they are now complaining that he is too positive. Would MacCallum prefer that Obama continue the doom and gloom for which she had previously chastised him?

But the bigger problem was that the video montage included a clip a Vice President Joe Biden saying that “The fundamentals of the economy are strong.” MacCallum characterized the whole clip as being comprised of comments made “in recent interviews this weekend.” Except that Biden’s remarks were made six months ago. Even worse, he was not expressing his own opinion that the economy was strong, he was mocking John McCain for saying so. MacCallum and Fox News cropped out the part where Biden said…

“Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that’s why John McCain could say with a straight face, as recently as this morning — and this is a quote: ‘The fundamentals of the economy are strong.‘ That’s what John says. He says that ‘we’ve made great progress economically’ in the Bush years.”

So MacCallum not only lied about when Biden’s remarks were made, she aired a video edited to appear as if Biden had said something when, in fact, he was quoting McCain as having said it.

It is just totally incomprehensible that anyone regards Fox News with any measure of respect.

Update 3/17/09: Twelve minutes into this morning’s program, Martha MacCallum raised the issue about the Biden video. She said that the video was indeed from six months ago and that Biden was quoting McCain. She then apologized for having “gotten it wrong.” While there was no explanation for how something this egregiously misleading occurred, I suppose it’s the best we can expect from Fox News.

Shill Baby Shill: Fox News Pumps Up Big Oil

William La Jeunesse is rapidly becoming the most promising contender for the Excrements in Journalism award. Last week he did a report on congressional earmarking in which his primary source was a McCain front group that he identified as nonpartisan. This week his report on offshore oil drilling is just as slanted as he becomes an outright advocate of Big Oil and their agenda.

In this story, La Jeunesse excitedly related news that the Santa Barbara County Supervisors had voted 3 to 2 to allow offshore drilling 100 miles off the coast. He veritably reveled at the notion that this coastal community was considering opening their beaches up to potentially devastating environmental disaster. In an earlier report he implied that the people’s wishes were going to be disregarded because California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were opposed to offshore drilling. How he concludes that the people are more represented by three county supervisors than they are by the majority of their state and congressional representatives and their governor, he never quite explains.

The report itself soft peddles the inherent dangers associated with offshore drilling. La Jeunesse cites a study that claims that one in every 156,000 barrels of oil is ever lost to a spill. He editorializes that that is “literally a drop in the bucket.” What he fails to say is that this number calculates out to over 70 million barrels of spilt oil. That’s a lot of dead of fish and seagulls, and a lot of lost revenue for a state that is highly leveraged in tourism.

If La Jeunesse wasn’t bad enough, Fox anchor Martha McCallum chimes in at the end to congratulate him on his report:

“This is the kind of debate and people say we need to drill off of our shores and I think a lot of people think that is a good idea but then you get into this Congressional debate and things get stymied.”

The problem with her comment, aside from her taking a position on what she thinks people want, is that there was absolutely no debate presented in the report. It was thoroughly one-sided and she even progressed the argument further to blame Congress as obstructionist. But she didn’t end it there. She still felt it necessary to praise Big Oil for their track record on spills:

“There is all of this pressure about the oil companies and oh they make so much money. Oil companies have spent a tremendous amount of money researching and making this process as clean as possible and they have done a pretty good job of it when you look at the numbers of what actually gets spilled out there, it’s extremely minimal. So, something everyone needs to know to get the full picture.”

To which her co-anchor Trace Gallagher responded:

“And that was pretty much the full picture.”

There you have it. Courtesy of Fox News, you now have no need to engage in any further research. The “full picture” has been revealed and it is one of clear waters, blue skies, and endless rainbows. All thanks to America’s oil companies.

Someone might still want to check with these corporations and ask them why gas prices have not dropped commensurate with the 37% drop in the price of crude oil since July. An equivalent decrease in gas prices would have us paying about $2.65 today. Is that what you’re paying?

You may also want to inquire of John McCain why the “Drill Baby Drill” mantra is still being chanted at his rallies. With Crude prices having dropped from nearly $150.00 a barrel to about $92.00, it apparently wasn’t necessary to expand domestic production in order to get the price down. So what Barack Obama and the Democrats have been arguing for weeks was correct. Yet I haven’t seen them get any credit in the press for being right. I haven’t even seen any analysis of what has transpired in the oil markets over the last couple of months.

Unfortunately for consumers, gas prices are still near record levels. Since it is not a problem at the wholesale level, it seems that the friends of McCain and his lobbyists are now indisputably at fault for the gouging we are experiencing at the pump. Unfortunately for voters, Republicans intend to press the case for more drilling regardless of the facts as they exist today. And the Democrats in Congress aren’t much better. They are expected to go along with Republican proposals to permit offshore drilling, albeit in compromised legislation. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) explains:

“The American people are very conscious that we need an alternative energy policy and the they’re not too distant from the memory of the $4 dollar-a-gallon gas. They know we need an investment in alternative energy and we can’t keep doing what we’re doing […] I think there’s still an urgency to get this done and get it done now.”

The argument appears to be that the momentum for a knee-jerk response is too swift to resist. That would make this a good time to contact your representatives and let them know that you’re paying attention; that you know that crude oil prices have fallen 37% but that gas prices have remained inordinately high; that you know that drilling for more domestic oil, particularly offshore, will not resolve our energy problems, in fact, it will exacerbate them and preserve our dependency on fossil fuels. Tell them not to accept the Republican arguments that have been proven false, and not to vote for their agenda that is designed to help their benefactors in the oil industry.

Don’t let the chanting cultists at McCain rallies win this debate when the truth is the opposite of their zombie anthem. And don’t let lying, corrupt Republicans and Fox News dictate our nation’s energy policies.