Fox News Commentator Secretly Worked On Michele Bachmann Book

Politico reported this week that Fox News commentator Jim Pinkerton is a paid co-author of GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann’s new book.

This sort of collaboration would be a problem for any journalist who failed to fully disclose the relationship. But the problem is compounded by the fact that Pinkerton is a regular on Fox’s Media Watch, a program whose purpose is to monitor malfeasance in the media. It is precisely this sort of affair that a program like Media Watch would expose, instead they are accomplices.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, Pinkerton told Media Matters that he does not regret his failure to disclose the relationship and that he had cleared it with his bosses at Fox who approved the deal. This is further evidence that the unethical behavior of anchors and commentators on Fox is not restricted to the whims of the on-air personnel. The editors and executives at Fox are fully involved in this perversion of journalistic standards. It’s just the way they do business.

Media Matters has compiled comments from a variety of press veterans and academics condemning Pinkerton’s actions. What do you think the adds are that Fox’s Media Watch will cover this story next Saturday?

Where Have All The Palins Gone?

Running for president was once the province of seasoned public servants with extensive knowledge of law and history, and practical experience managing complex enterprises. Today running for president is a public relations strategy for boosting book advances and landing contracts with television news networks.

Remember when Sarah Palin was the darling of the right and she was on the news every day pontificating in her uniquely incoherent way? Remember when reporters followed her brightly colored bus around the country desperately trying to get her to look in their direction?

Remember when Donald Trump was on the news every day with increasingly wild assertions about his own magnificence or the President’s citizenship? Remember how unquestioning the press was about his phony resume and declarations of achievement and wealth?

Remember when Chris Christie was on the news everyday parading his arrogance around as if it represented moral character? Remember how he led the polls for the GOP nomination despite not even being a candidate?

Remember when Michele Bachmann was on the news every day after she won a straw poll in Iowa that had a notoriously spotty record for predicting the GOP nominee? Remember when she was the front-runner for the Republican nomination and the heir to Sarah Palin’s Tea Party princess crown?

Remember when Rick Perry was on the news every day and was heralded as the serious contender for the GOP nomination with executive experience and bona fide credentials? Remember when his name could mentioned without invoking uncontrollable laughter?

Before long we will be asking: Remember when Herman Cain was on the news every day and leading in the polls against more establishment candidates with conventional backgrounds? Remember when people actually took seriously the former head of a pizza chain as a possible president of the United States?

But the real question we should be asking is what has happened to our national pride? What has happened to the aspiration for excellence and the admiration for brilliance? Why have so many Americans embraced an anti-intellectual pursuit of averagism? When did their standards decline to the point that they have contempt for Harvard graduates and reverence for governors who quit mid-term?

The parade of Republican front-runners would be an embarrassment to any party other than one preoccupied with tea. And the thinness of their character is evidenced by how quickly they disappear, leaving merely remnants with vague resemblances to persons we think we used to know. Which leaves us asking, Sarah who?

The Fox News GOP Debate Was A Hate Fest – Literally

The accumulating evidence of the ignorance, bigotry and callousness of the Republican Party continues to manifest itself at their own convocations of crackpottery – the GOP presidential primary debates.

The star of these debates is turning out to be the audience, as the crowd steals the spotlight from the candidates. In the first debate a few weeks ago the audience cheered the mention of 234 executions carried out during the term of Rick Perry in Texas. In the next debate a question was asked regarding whether society should let a sick person die merely because he had no insurance. The iced (hearted) Tea Party audience began shouting “Yeah!” And last evening’s debate sponsored by the Republican PR agency, Fox News, saw the crowd disrespecting an Iraq war veteran by booing his videotaped question about equal rights for gays and lesbians serving their country in the armed forces.

While the audience endeavors to demonstrate that they are bigger jerks than the candidates, the candidates refuse to surrender that honor without a fight. Amongst the inanities erupting from this affair:

  • Michele Bachmann unveiled her plan to reduce tax rates to zero for all Americans. That and her unicorn giveaway program should excite voters.
  • Ron Paul reiterated his theory that government immigration programs developed to keep foreigners out would eventually be used to trap Americans in.
  • Rick Perry described his preference for a running mate that involved mating Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich. Setting aside the disturbing visual imagery, the prospect of a vice-president that combines the brash ignorance of Cain with the background of ethical lapses of Gingrich shouldn’t make anyone feel better about a Perry ticket.

Finally, Fox News distinguished itself by inviting a question from a representative of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks people and organizations that engage in racism and extremist criminality, has classified FAIR as a hate group. That automatically qualifies the organization for participation in any Fox News event.

The embrace of FAIR and the booing of a veteran are emblematic of the modern GOP’s moral decline. And the party is generously exposing its most revolting warts in the primary as its candidates and its members seek to appeal to basest wet dreams of their Tea Bagging comrades.

Lowlights From The Republican Debate

Thank goodness the President’s speech before congress was put off until Thursday. I would not have wanted America to miss this spectacle of GOP brilliance.

Setting aside the predictable skirmishes and automatic spewing of stump speech sound bites, there were some classic moments of insight that can only be attributed to the chronic psychosis of Republicanism. So without further ado…

Biggest Whopper of the Night:

Rick Perry on Obama saying that the border is safer than ever: “Either he has some of the poorest intel in the history of this country or he is an abject liar.”
However, violent crime rates along the U.S.-Mexico border have been falling for years and border cities of all sizes have maintained crime rates below the national average.

Comic Relief (which is pretty much everything else):

Perry flubbed his grasp of border security by calling for patrols with unmanned drones, apparently unaware that such patrols have been in use since 2009, including in Texas.

Michele Bachmann wants to make sure that immigrants seeking citizenship have a basic knowledge of American history. I assume that’s so she’ll have someone to teach her.

To illustrate how unreliable science is with regard to Global Warming, Perry cited Galileo as an example of a scientist who was disputed by fellow scientists. The problem with that is that Galileo was disputed by fundamentalist Christian authorities, not other scientists. You know, the kind of non-scientist, fundamentalists Perry hangs out with.

Ron Paul expressed his dismay with border fences because, instead of keeping foreigners out, they could be used to keep Americans in. He may be the only candidate speaking out in support of expatriates fleeing to Mexico.

Newt Gingrich complained that the debate moderators were trying to foment disagreement between the participants. And as we know, political debates are supposed to be completely free of any disagreements between the candidates.

Herman Cain advocates for the Chilean model of retirement programs. Chile essentially has a program wherein people pay in to private accounts. In other words, Cain wants to privatize Social Security. Which is marginally better than Perry’s plan to abolish the whole Ponzi scheme.

Perry praised Michael Dukakis’ job creation record as governor of Massachusetts saying that he “created jobs three times faster than” Mitt Romney. Romney didn’t disagree.

Bachmann again spoke of her five biological children and 23 foster kids. This time it was to shore up the child labor vote by asserting that what kids need today are jobs. Makes you wonder what she was doing with all those foster kids.

This was great television. I can’t wait for the next debate. We have a couple of promising events on the schedule. One with CNN and their co-host, Tea Party Express. And another by Fox News with questions submitted via Google. What I wouldn’t give for a debate co-sponsored by Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment and the National Rifle Association, with their moderators Ted Nugent and Victoria Jackson. And a special half-time tribute to Ann Coulter.

Small Government – Small Hearts: The GOP Response To Hurricane Irene

There is a storm advancing on the east coast of the United States of historic proportions. Hurricane Irene has resulted in the first ever mandatory evacuation of New York City due to a natural disaster. It is expected to cause billions of dollars of damage from North Carolina to Maine, but the human toll will not be known until the storm has passed. And the response by Republican leaders typically expresses their disdain for the unfortunates who not are a part of their elitist, country club caste.

Small Government

The GOP has long had an obsession with dismantling government. Grover Norquist famously stated that he wanted to “reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” More recently, Eric Cantor, the Republican Leader of the House, said that he would only support federal disaster aid if the expense was offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget. In effect, he is holding emergency relief hostage to partisan deficit reduction.

Right-wing icon Ron Paul goes even further. In an interview with NBC News he essentially advocated repealing a century of progress in critical response to national tragedies saying, literally, that “We should be like 1900.”

Paul cited as an example the response to a devastating hurricane in Galveston, TX, in 1900. It is still the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, taking the lives of between 10,000 and 12,000 people. Paul proudly boasted that the community did not require federal aid to rebuild the city. That, however, is patently false. Galveston did request and receive federal aid, without which it could not have rebuilt. Glenn Beck also falsely cited Galveston in an attempt to argue that the federal government’s role in disaster relief was unnecessary.

The modern Republican Party is making a predictable progression from George Bush’s phony “compassionate conservatism” to the heartlessness of the Tea Pity Party. At this foreboding time, when American lives and property are at risk, we should take care to remember the results of the anti-federalist policies that produced the cataclysm of Katrina and resolve to never allow that to happen again.

What We Learned About Michele Bachmann This Week

The winner of the Ames, Iowa Republican Straw Poll (by a mere 152 votes over Ron Paul), Michele Bachmann revealed much of herself to the electorate this week.

Michele Bachmann

First, in the Fox News debate on Thursday, Bachmann was asked about her recent confession that, despite not wanting to pursue tax law in college, she did so anyway at the behest of her husband because…

“…the Lord said, ‘Be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.'”

When she was asked at the debate whether she would be submissive to her husband were she elected president, she responded by attempting to redefine the term:

“…it means respect. I respect my husband. He’s a wonderful, godly man, and a great father. And he respects me as his wife. That’s how we operate our marriage. We respect each other.”

The problem with that answer is that no dictionary, and nowhere in the Bible, is submission defined as respect. What’s more, the Bible doesn’t say that husbands should be submissive to their wives. So even if submission did mean respect, it is not reciprocal, as Bachmann implies. Ultimately, her answer to the question was that, since submission equals respect, and respect is demonstrated by capitulating to your husband’s demands, Bachmann would indeed be submissive to her husband as president.

The second thing we learned was that, until recently, Bachmann lacked faith in America. In her presentation prior to the straw poll, she told Iowans that…

“As we’ve been all over the state, what we have seen is a restoration of that dream and you have restored in me my faith in America.”

I wonder if all the right-wing, pseudo-patriots who became faint upon hearing that Michelle Obama’s national pride was restored during her husband’s campaign for president in 2008, will be equally as appalled at Bachmann’s confession? Furthermore, what will they make of her disparagement of the whole of the nation other than Iowa?

“I see on television destruction all across the country, but not in Iowa. It doesn’t matter what city I’m in, I see happy, confident, optimistic people.”

So Iowa is the island of euphoria in a nation beset by turmoil and despair. Apparently she sees depressed, reticent, pessimists from Maine to California. It would be interesting to see how she would campaign in the other 49 states if she wins the nomination, which, of course, she won’t, but that’s another story.

Chris Wallace Begs Michele Bachmann’s Forgiveness

On last Sunday’s broadcast of Fox News Sunday, Anchor Chris Wallace listed a few of examples of why many people, including Republicans, consider Michele Bachmann to be a “flake.” Bachmann expressed her dismay at being insulted by Wallace, then left the studio to tell a Fox News reporter that she has the same spirit as serial murderer John Wayne Gacy.

After receiving harsh feedback from Bachmann’s supporters and Fox News disciples, Wallace immediately posted a video apology on the Fox News web site. However, that wasn’t enough because Wallace also had to call Bachmann that evening and personally kneel to kiss her ring.

All of this genuflection on the part of the Fox News anchor toward a favorite character on the network’s political soap opera is rather curious. One has to wonder why Wallace never apologized for calling President Obama and his administration “the biggest bunch of crybabies” he’d ever dealt with. Wallace also never apologized for calling Democrats “damn fools” for not gracing his program with their presence. These were insults that were aimed directly at his adversaries and represented his personal opinion, unlike the Bachmann episode where he was relaying the opinions of others. Yet he never felt compelled to apologize.

Does this represent Wallace’s fairness and balance? Or is it more representative of the point Jon Stewart made after getting Wallace to admit that Fox News “tells the other side of the story.” Wallace has since tried to back away from that comment by claiming he meant to say the “full” story. However, this isn’t the first time Wallace has used that framing to explain the Fox News bias. In July of 2008, Wallace told an interviewer that…

“…whether you like Fox News or don’t like it, it seems to me that it is a healthy development if only because it creates another view point.”

Yep. Fox News has been creating another point of view for years. Creating it from scratch at the behest of the conservative Republican hierarchy. That’s why no affront to liberals or Democrats is deserving of an apology, but when it comes to folks like Bachmann the amends must be made within minutes and repeatedly.

Michele Bachmann: I Have The Spirit Of A Serial Killer

It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Michele Bachmann officially entered the race today for the Republican nomination for president of the United States. This comes just one day after Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked her if she was “a flake” for having committed numerous gaffes. But today Bachmann responded to a question from a reporter from Fox News (of course) by saying how proud she was to be from the same place as another famous American:

“Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.”

Bachmann may want to consult an exorcist to see if that spirit can be cast out because the actor John Wayne, while from Iowa, was not from Waterloo. However, the serial murderer, John Wayne Gacy, called Waterloo home when he began his life of crime.

This is the woman who told Chris Wallace that it was insulting to be referred to as a flake because she is a “serious” person. I’m sure Gacy was pretty serious also, so it’s easy to see why she admires him.

Barack Obama Beating GOP Rivals In Their Own States

As the 2012 campaign season continues to roll out, here’s something you won’t hear in much of the mainstream media:

The people who know these Republican candidates best prefer President Obama. These senators, governors, and congressmen served for years representing their constituents, yet those constituents were apparently not impressed.

Other Republican who have been the subject of speculation (Chris Christie of New Jersey, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich of Georgia, Sarah Palin of Alaska, and Rick Perry of Texas) are also notably unpopular at home. The same is true for GOP governors (Rick Scott of Florida, John Kasich of Ohio, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and more) for whom voters in their states are experiencing buyer’s remorse.

The rest of the nation should take this into account as the campaigns proceed.

Fox News Is Very Concerned About Sexism

On today’s front page of the Fox News online spew factory known as Fox Nation, there was a featured article that raised concerns about sexism in the media. Of course, it wasn’t directed to the dominance of ditzy blonds that populate Fox’s programming, or the fixation they have on First Lady Michelle Obama’s wardrobe or weight. It was that the Washington Post crossed some line of political correctness that offended Fox’s commitment to gender equality and respect when they published a story about Michelle Bachmann’s performance at the New Hampshire GOP debate. But take a look at the “Pic of the Day” that appeared just to the right of Bachmann’s on the web site:

The first thing that should be noted about this outrage is that the Fox Nationalists clearly don’t know what the phrase “Assume the position means.” They seem to think it has something to do with a sexual position. That, of course, is not so, but it tells us a lot about the pervs at Fox News. The phrase is a reference to a police command that a subject submit to a search for weapons or other contraband.

The next thing to note is that the Washington Post didn’t initiate the use of the phrase. They merely reported that John King, the CNN moderator of the debate, used it to prepare the candidates for the start of the debate. It was a play on words with an association to “positions” that candidates take on issues. In as much as the Post editorialized the phrase with regard to Bachmann, it was in a positive manner, saying that she “rose above the usual positioning” and that she “stole the show.”

Finally, the spectacle of Fox News becoming disturbed about sexism is a joke. As alluded to above, they are generally dismissive of legitimate complaints of sexism, which they portray as liberal whining and political correctness. But worse than that, they ceaselessly exploit sexism on the air in pursuit of horny viewers. So I took a look at Fox Nation’s “Pic of the Day” for just this year and found that they might not be as sensitive to the prevalence of sexism as they pretend to be.

This exploitation of women’s sexuality for commercial purposes is a part of the Fox News identity. It is Rupert Murdoch’s editorial creed and is practiced across his properties. If they could get away with it, they would broadcast nude pictures of women as Murdoch’s British tabloid The Sun does daily on its Page Three feature. This has long been one of the most blatant hypocrisies of the Murdoch empire which purports to advocate a Puritan-style, faith-based, morality. Somehow, Fox’s glassy-eyed congregation is able to ignore this contradiction.

To be fair, while researching this article I found that Fox was not entirely consumed with the sexual exploitation of women. There was one example of a male victim of this rhetorical abuse:

That’s Republican congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois. And, no, this is not a picture that he tweeted to a fan online. It is a picture that he posed for and was published in Men’s Health Magazine. Consequently it was on newsstands nationwide and seen by millions, not just a handful of individuals on a social network. That’s apparently the difference. If you send naked pictures of yourself to a couple of net-friends you are called upon to resign. If you publish them in magazines with millions of readers, as Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) did, it’s perfectly OK. Got that? And if you’re going to embroil yourself in a sex scandal, at least get some actual sex. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) were both caught with prostitutes in violation of the law, but they are both still serving in Congress.