Petition Calls On Democrats To Stay Off Fox

What took so damn long? has just announced a petition drive to persuade Democrats to Stay Off Fox.

This could be a turning point in the campaign to isolate Fox News and to re-brand them as a partisan purveyor of propaganda. As my regular readers may know, I have been calling for all Democrats and progressives to stay the HELL off of Fox News for more than two years. I launched my Starve the Beast campaign in August of 2007, by saying:

“The problem with Fox News is not that it’s a right-wing platform for war, intolerance, and greed; it isn’t that it’s spreading propaganda in support of an out-of-control White House that is hoarding unprecedented levels of power; it isn’t that they engage in relentless and unfounded attacks on Democrats, progressives, and the rest of the 72% of Americans that Fox portrays as unpatriotic because they disapprove of Mr. Bush and his war; it isn’t even that it sits at the center of a politically charged media empire run by Rupert Murdoch, a monopolistic ideologue with no allegiance to country or the common good.”

The problem with Fox News is that people grant them far more credit and influence than they deserve. They are a niche player in the cable news universe. Their highest rated program (The O’Reilly Factor) has fewer viewers than the lowest rated broadcast news program (CBS/Couric). They reach an audience of about 3 million, which is less than 1% of the population. In Starve the Beast, and its two follow ups, I painstakingly made the case that Democrats can and should avoid Fox News. There is almost nothing to be gained by patronizing them.

Now has come aboard:

President Obama is fighting back against FOX. The White House communications director said FOX is a “wing of the Republican Party…let’s not pretend they’re a news network.”

To draw attention to its biased coverage, President Obama will not appear on FOX for the rest of this year. Can you sign this petition asking Democrats to support President Obama’s stance by staying off FOX as long as he does?

A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to Democratic senators and representatives.

MoveOn’s petition drive was inspired by the recent courageous comments by White House communications director, Anita Dunn, who said that Fox is “the communications arm of the Republican Party.” That simple and obvious observation has sparked a dialogue that, in the end, will reinforce the public perception that Fox is merely masquerading as a news enterprise. For her trouble, Dunn has been smeared by Fox presenters, particularly Glenn Beck, who has falsely asserted that she worships Mao Zedong. That is especially ironic considering that Beck himself was caught on video confessing his idolization of Adolf Hitler (Call me, Glenn. Tell that I’m wrong).

My original Starve the Beast column ended with a plea to my political compatriots that still reflects the urgency of embargoing Fox News and treating them as the partisan prevaricators that they are:

“Please stop hurting our cause by appearing on Fox News. Rupert Murdoch and his media megaphone is openly hostile to our agenda and our representatives. They will only use your appearance to distort your message and derail our mission. Studies have proven that their audience is unreceptive, and even antagonistic, to us. Your appearance will be rewarded more with ridicule than respect.”

Many thanks to MoveOn for coming aboard and giving this movement a much needed boost.

Bill O’Reilly: MoveOn Forced CNBC To Hire Howard Dean

Bill O’Reilly gets funnier by the day (or scarier, depending on your perspective). His latest broadcast falsehood is that has wielded its mighty power to “force” NBC/Universal CEO Jeff Zucker to hire Howard Dean as a contributor to CNBC. This display of domination was allegedly in response to conservative commentaries by CNBC’s Jim Cramer and Mark Haines.

Even if someone was stupid enough to believe that a relatively small political activist group could boss around the chief of a major entertainment and news empire, the accusation is completely without foundation. In fact, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post, who did some actual reporting, unlike O’Reilly, found that:

“…the decision to bring the recently departed DNC Chair on board, the source says, was finalized well before the current wave of CNBC-angst. So while grassroots groups have sprouted up in recent weeks petitioning the network to make wholesale changes, Dean’s hiring can’t be viewed as a direct result of public pressure.”

O’Reilly’s stupidity, however, extends even further. The source he quotes for his baseless and false allegation is Noel Sheppard. O’Reilly identifies him as the author of a column in the Washington Examiner. What O’Reilly doesn’t tell you is that Sheppard also happens to be the Associate Editor of NewsBusters, an arm of the uber-conservative Media Research Center. The MRC was just revealed to be the source for many ideologically twisted stories on Fox News, a fact that former anchor Brit Hume confessed just last week. Now O’Reilly has admitted that he too is disseminating MRC propaganda as if it were news. It should be noted that neither O’Reilly nor Sheppard produced any evidence that either MoveOn or Zucker played any role in Dean’s employment.

As if that were not enough, O’Reilly went on to disparage Dean saying that he “know[s] little about economics.” Where O’Reilly gets the gumption to knock Dean’s credentials is beyond me. Dean served as governor of the state of Vermont for twelve years. For a portion of time he was Chairman of the National Governor’s Association. Prior to that he was a Wall Street stock broker. And his father was a top executive at Dean Witter Reynolds. But O’Reilly, who expounds on economics every day is a former tabloid TV news reader. So on whose advice would you prefer to rely?

On the comedy tip, O’Reilly is even having trouble organizing his outrage. For years he has been hammering NBC and its cable units as being irredeemably compromised by wicked leftists. He reveled in characterizing them as despicable purveyors of group-think. The following quotation, however, reveals a psyche that is sorely starving for air.

“Now many on Wall Street believe Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric which owns NBC, has completely lost control of his company, including the actions of Mr. Zucker. The evidence of that is that MSNBC is supporting and promoting the same far-left loons that are hammering the sister outfit CNBC. I mean, how rich is this?”

First of all, the “many on Wall Street believe” canard is an example of a lazy intellect. O’Reilly won’t, and can’t identify these imaginary critics. Secondly, his complaint that MSNBC is critical of CNBC contradicts his contention that all NBC units think alike. Even worse, by mocking this diversity of opinion, he is implying that he would prefer it if they did think alike. Of course, he would prefer no such thing. He would simply go back to accusing them of being blindly and uniformly liberal. It’s the O’Reilly way

Fox News: Racism Is Their Marketing Plan

A press conference will be held today at 2:30 outside of the offices of Fox News in New York. The purpose of the gathering is to deliver a petition with over 600,000 names to network executives calling for an end to the racist attacks against black Americans including Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle. The petition is the work of Color of Change and MoveOn and asks Fox News CEO Roger Ailes to respond to the allegation that…

“Fox has developed a pattern of airing racially offensive attacks, then apologizing only after controversy erupts. Forced, half-hearted apologies do not demonstrate good faith when the larger pattern of offensive rhetoric continues.”

Examples of Fox’s intolerance abound, but for a brief recap of a few that occurred just this year:

  • Obama’s Baby Mama
  • Terrorist Fist Jab
  • Knock Off Osama …uh… Obama … Well, Both If We could
  • Lynching Party Against Michelle Obama
O'Reilly Lynching Party

The coalition delivering the petition will include rapper, Nas, who has had his own problems with Fox News. Last August, Nas was scheduled to appear at a memorial concert for the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings. Bill O’Reilly condemned the booking as an atrocity. Nas responded by saying that…

“Everybody has a marketing plan; his marketing plan is racism […] I wouldn’t honor anything Bill O’Reilly has to say. It just shows you what bloodsuckers do: They abuse something like the Virginia Tech [tragedy] for show ratings.”

Well said. But he’s not done. His new album “Untitled” (which just hit #1) features a track dedicated to Fox News called “Sly Fox,” that begins, “The Sly Fox, Cyclops, We locked in the idiot box,” and continues, “Watch what you watchin’, Fox keeps feeding us toxins, Stop sleeping, Start thinking, Outside of the box.” Here’s the whole thing on video:


Update: Fox News did not accept the petitions but made a statement in response that trivializes the 600,000 signers while taking a slap at Nas:

Fox News Racist“Fox News believes in all protesters exercising their right to free speech including Nas who has an album to promote.”

Nas had his own statement:

“Fox poisons this country every time they air racist propaganda and try to call it news. This should outrage every American that Fox uses hateful language to talk about the person that may be the first black president.”

After Fox refused to take the petitions, Nas took them to Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Once again, Comedy Central proves to be a better practitioner of Journalism than Fox News.

Link to Colbert Report’s Color of Change Segment
Link to Colbert’s interview of Nas
Link to Nas performance on the Colbert Report

Giuliani: I Am MoveOn’s Worst Nightmare

The MoveOn advertisement challenging General Petraeus’ congressional testimony is continuing to stir up dust. After drawing heat from Fox News war apologists like Bill O’Reilly, and taking fire from Dick Cheney, and being threatened with deportation by John McCain, and having GOP congressman Tom Davis call for hearings, now another Republican presidential candidate has weighed in with a unique fund raising scheme.

Rudy Giuliani has already hit MoveOn with an ad that attacks both the advocacy group and Hillary Clinton. He has also made comments that trample that pesky Constitutional notion of free speech. Now he is on the attack again, this time wrapping his assault in a plea for campaign donations:

“Why is MoveOn attacking Rudy Giuliani? Because he’s their worst nightmare. They know Rudy is a Republican who can beat the Democrats.”

This radio campaign is accompanied by an Internet keyword campaign that delivers Rudy’s anti-MoveOn message when searching for either “MoveOn” or “Hillary Clinton” on Google.

Many candidates are using Google AdWords in their ad campaigns. But Rudy is using keywords that are associated with his opponents to bring attention to himself. In fact, searching for keyword combinations of his own name return only ads for his campaign web site with no mention of MoveOn or Clinton.

Several weeks ago, the media was aghast that John Edwards would include appeals for donations after he and his wife Elizabeth were attacked by Ann Coulter, though his fund raising was limited to his web site and emails to his supporters. Do you think the press will respond with equivalent indignation now that a Republican candidate is doing the same thing in an even more brazen fashion?