Frank Luntz, The Fox News Word Doctor, Is Scared To Death Of #Occupy Wall Street

Frank Luntz has been helping to distort the language of Republicans for decades. His specialty is developing dishonest phrases to replace accurate descriptions of social and political issues when the accurate descriptions produce negative impressions of conservatives and their unpopular agenda. And now…..

Frank Luntz Is Scared

Luntz created the term “death tax” as a substitute for “estate tax,” reasoning that it would be easier to steer low-information voters away from a tax on dying than a tax on people who own estates. He also supplied the term “government-run” to replace “public option” during the health care debate after determining that focus groups responded less favorably to the label that implied falsely that government would get between you and your doctor.

It is common to observe Luntz’s fabrications getting adopted by conservative politicians and media. He is a frequent presence on Fox News and has been cited as their main source for right-leaning rhetoric. He serves the same purpose for political clients, and in that role he just spoke at the Republican Governors Association to deliver an ominous warning:

“I’m so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death. They’re having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.”

Luntz is right to be afraid. The Occupy movement has taken hold of the American Dream and reminded citizens that they have a right to be heard on important issues that impact their lives. It has revealed that the American people are overwhelmingly supportive of the goals of the Occupiers. It has reasserted the Constitutional and patriotic practice of free speech and the redress of grievances. These are principles that Luntz and his rightist patrons simply cannot abide.

Consequently, Luntz went to work to shape a new batch of linguistic contortions with which to befuddle naive FoxPods. The fruit of his fear is striking evidence of the success of the Occupy movement. Below are the specific suggestions Luntz gave to the GOP governors for what to say, and not to say, when talking about the Occupy movement. Pay attention, because these words and arguments are what will soon be cascading from the mouths of pundits and politicians on Fox News and other ring-wing media:

Out: Capitalism / In: Economic Freedom or Free Market
Luntz has concluded that, while Americans still prefer capitalism to socialism, any mention of it will stir thoughts of the misdeeds of Wall Street and bankers. Indeed, capitalism has suffered a PR setback in recent years and even ranks below progressivism in national polls. In a nod to the effectiveness of the Occupiers, Luntz now believes that to be seen as defending Wall Street is “a problem.” So the GOP can’t even admit that it favors capitalism for fear of losing support.

Out: Tax the Rich / In: Take from the Rich
Every poll shows that the country is in favor of making the wealthy pay their fair share. Even polls of millionaires reveal that they think their own taxes should be higher. So Luntz proposes a tweak in the hopes of producing language that sounds more sympathetic. Remove the “sym” and you have something more like the truth.

Out: Middle-Class / In: Hardworking Taxpayers
The right has obviously lost any appeal to all but the most fortunate in society. Luntz recognizes that there is little to gain by courting the middle-class so he has invented a new term that he believes people can relate to without actually defining it. The problem is that taxpayers that actually do work hard won’t be fooled by this rouse into thinking they are members of the One-Percent whose lives of leisure are supported by GOP policies.

Out: Jobs / In: Careers
This may be the most brazen deceit on the list. Luntz asked his audience of Republican governors whether they wanted a job or a career. After few hands were raised for the former, and many for the latter, Luntz summed up asking, “So why are we talking about jobs?” He should try asking his questions in the parking lot of a Target Store rather than to sitting governors and their staff. He might get a different response and may even learn why so many Americans are talking about jobs.

Out: Government Spending / In: Waste
This is a transparent effort to associate anything having to do with government as wasteful and unnecessary. I assume he means to disparage government spending on things like Social Security, interstate highways, veteran’s benefits, law enforcement, public schools, child services, water, air, and food safety, and national security, which is, by far, the largest chunk of the federal budget. By all means, let’s stop wasting money.

Out: Compromise / In: Cooperate
In today’s Republican party compromise is seen as weakness. Luntz asserts that it amounts to “selling out [your] principles.” He also admits that cooperation means the same thing, but doesn’t have the sting of compromise. The GOP may not have been using Luntz’s phrasing, but they have definitely been acting on the concept. This session of Congress has had more filibusters than any in history as Republicans refuse to compromise. The fact that they are more committed to the failure of this administration than they are to the success of the nation has been apparent to the public, which is why Luntz and the GOP have to resort to this sort of word play.

Out: Umm… / In: I get It
Here Luntz is just offering his version of a patronizing statement to mollify an angry electorate. Luntz told his audience of governors, “Here are three words for you all: ‘I get it.’ I get that you’re angry. I get that you’ve seen inequality. I get that you want to fix the system.” Unfortunately for Luntz & Co. the electorate knows that’s a lie. They know that Republicans don’t really get it and neither do they have any solutions.

Out: Entrepreneur / In: Job Creator
I think this must have something to do with sounding too French. Republicans have a long record of pretending to support entrepreneurship, but Luntz must have detected a derogatory connotation that wasn’t there previously. He must also have detected a problem with the word “innovator” because he also advises against its use. However, the GOP has already been using “job creator” as a substitute for “rich,” so they will be forced to find a new label for the one-percent. How about “the One-Percent?”

Out: Sacrifice / In: In This Together
The logic behind this twist is that is that the word “sacrifice” allegedly evokes a negative feeling that is shared by all. The problem with that logic is that the rich have not yet been asked to sacrifice anything. So, in reality, Luntz just wants to excise the word because it only applies to the subset of Americans who are already suffering and to whom the GOP are least likely to appeal. Raising the specter of sacrifice only dredges up harsh feeling amongst the middle-class…I mean hard working Americans…when juxtaposed with the rich…I mean job creators.

Shared Sacrifice

Out: Wall Street / In: Washington
This capsulizes the whole problem for Luntz and the right. He knows that Wall Street is correctly seen as the perpetrator of much of the country’s current ills. He knows that associating with Big Finance will sink the prospects of any politician. And he knows that success for the Upper-Crusters he represents depends on fingering another villain. Ironically, the villains he suggests are the very people and institutions that he represents in DC. If he is going to mount a “blame Washington” campaign it has to include the Republican denizens of the capital who, more than anyone else, handed over control of the economy to the Wall Street hoodlums who promptly shattered it.

With the collapse of the Tea Party, the financial elite are girding for a fight. A recently disclosed memo revealed a scheme to launch a propaganda campaign against the Occupy movement to be funded by $850,000 from the American Bankers Association. The lobbyists behind this effort include former staff members of House Speaker John Boehner. The ties between the Banksters and political power brokers are as strong as ever.

The inescapable truth that emerges from Luntz’s presentation is that the Occupy movement has been a phenomenal success. In a little over two months it has captured the imagination of a weary populace who now see a path to redemption. It has flipped the national conversation from one of a phony debt crisis to one focused squarely on economic inequities and the abuse of corporate power in the political arena. And now it has resulted in one of the most satisfying accomplishments of all: It has Fox News’ Word Doctor, and likely all of his clients and colleagues, scared to death. Hopefully they will be just scared enough to start doing the right thing for the 99% of Americans who have had to wait too long for the restoration of fairness and justice.

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New Yorkers Paying $500,000 A Year To Protect Fox News

In another example of the 1% bilking the general public out of money that ought to be used for the public’s benefit, the Daily Beast is reporting that Fox News gets special protection from the New York Police Department courtesy of New York taxpayers.

“[D]own at Rupert’s News Corp. headquarters on Sixth Ave.–which has never been a terrorist or protest target of any significance–the media empire is guarded by a 24-hour-a-day New York Police Department security detail seven days a week, a patrol that one security expert estimated costs the city at least half a million dollars a year. No other news network gets comparable NYPD protection.”

The article goes on to attribute the all-consuming paranoia of Fox CEO Roger Ailes as a possible explanation for the extraordinary security. But the optics of an enterprise owned by billionaire Rupert Murdoch billing a cash-strapped metropolis for security they ought to be paying for themselves is an embarrassment and an outrage. At a time when the NYPD is staffed at near record lows, somebody at the department, or in city government, has decided to redeploy officers from serving and protecting the people of New York to babysitting a wealthy corporation that can afford to take care of itself.

Is this really a wise use of scarce law enforcement resources? Does Fox News deserve protection that no other network receives? Is there an unhealthy relationship between Murdoch, the NYPD, and Michael Bloomberg? These are just a few of the questions that need to be asked at the next city council meeting. And while they are at it, somebody ought to ask why Fox News goes berserk over the cost of policing legal protests by Occupy Wall Street while they are draining public funds for no good reason.

Sarah Palin’s Top 10 Reasons To Support Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a bona fide phenomenon that, in two short months, has grown to levels no one could have predicted. And despite the inability of the media to discern the goals of the OWS protesters, their agenda could not be more apparent. The movement’s core convictions revolve around the abuse and corruption of politics by the wealthy and corporations, and the economic inequities that have virtually vaporized America’s middle class.

These issues have unprecedented support from a broad swath of the American people. More than 70% support raising taxes on the rich. More than 70% oppose cutting Social Security and Medicare. And both of those include majorities of Republicans and Independents. Even a majority of our nation’s millionaires support these positions. Support for these principles is so universal that the only rebuttal opponents can muster are juvenile comments about socialism or hygiene.

For these reasons, perhaps it should not be surprising that Sarah Palin has jumped on the bandwagon. Her star has been fading rapidly since she stopped pretending to be a candidate for president. And while the press used to chase after her tour bus like whimpering puppies, the only attention she gets today is from her most devoted disciples and her boss, Rupert Murdoch, and the entities he controls such as Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.

It is in the pages of the latter that Palin has published a critique of the political-financial complex that is driving the nation to ruin. Her title for the op-ed is “How Congress Occupied Wall Street.” Many of her laments mirror the philosophy of the Occupy movement. While there is some obvious hypocrisy embedded in some of her remarks, it is still notable that these perspectives are being expressed by someone like Palin and published by an enterprise like the Wall Street Journal. Following are ten points that were extracted from Palin’s article that inadvertently endorse the principles of Occupy Wall Street.

1) How do politicians who arrive in Washington, D.C. as men and women of modest means leave as millionaires?
Good question. Do you suppose it has something to do with the unholy relationships between members of Congress and their wealthy benefactors? If anyone can answer this question it’s Palin, who has personal knowledge of how to earn millions by exploiting political opportunity.

2) The corruption [is] an entire system of public servants feathering their own nests.
Indeed. Although it may be a stretch to refer to a political Mafia who shakedown constituents and accept bribes from special interests as public “servants.” And once again, Palin’s personal experience with nest feathering is invaluable.

3) The moment you threaten to strip politicians of their legal graft, they’ll moan that they can’t govern effectively without it.
What politicians refer to as contributions and earmarks are what citizens regard as graft. And while the politicians make a lot of noise about cleaning up Washington, they have no genuine interest in doing so.

4) [T]heir idea of reform is to limit the right of “We the people” to exercise our freedom of speech in the political process.
It is unclear what Palin is referring to here because she has not exactly been forced into silence, much to America’s dismay. But 26 journalists covering OWS have been arrested so far. What’s more, the GOP is working at the state level to suppress voting for millions of citizens, primarily seniors, students, and minorities.

5) [T]he only solution to entrenched corruption is sudden and relentless reform.
Could Palin have come up with a phrase that better describes OWS? When protesters occupied Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan it was a spontaneous response to an untenable situation. And the fact that they planted themselves in the park, and other sites across the country, demonstrates just how relentless this movement intends to be.

6) We need reform that provides real transparency.
Welcome to the club, Sarah. Progressives have been arguing for more openness by government and public agencies for years. And a major component of the OWS agenda is the reversal of the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court that permits corporations and others to bankroll political initiatives without revealing their identity.

7) We need equality under the law.
Absolutely! Equality and fairness and a sense of shared sacrifice. It is time for the wealthy, who have benefited more from their position of privilege than anyone else, to be treated equally under the law. No more special treatment. Palin should give this more than lip service.

8) No more sweetheart land deals with campaign contributors.
This is just another method of funneling bribes into the pockets of politicians and it must stop. Including the land deals where politicians advocate on behalf of contributors to get oil leases in protected wild spaces in Alaska.

9) [N]o transitioning into a lobbying career after leaving office. No more revolving door, ever.
Here is another plank of the progressive platform that has been beaten down by entrenched politicos every time it was proposed.

10) This call for real reform must transcend political parties. The grass-roots movements of the right and the left should embrace this.

Now, is Sarah Palin actually getting behind Occupy Wall Street? Of course not. She undoubtedly considers them unclean, unfocused, and un-American. But the positions she appears to advocate here could be interpreted as aligned with the goals of OWS, even if it is entirely accidental on her part. Perhaps she deliberately plagiarized the platform in a desperate attempt to steal some of its popularity for herself. There is a delicious irony in that Palin has published this piece in Murdoch’s paper. You could say that these ideas have Occupied the Wall Street Journal, albeit from a back entrance.

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Sarah Palin OWS

Fox News Insults #OWS and Latinos With One Phony Story

Just in case anyone was still unconvinced that Fox News is a shameless purveyor of propaganda that peddles its dishonest tripe in a manner that is patently biased, take a look at these treatments of a recent headline story:

Fox News Bias

It’s not bad enough that Fox News tries to associate a violent, mentally ill criminal with the Occupy Wall Street movement despite the police stating unequivocally that there was no evidence of any connection, but Fox also has to rewrite the story for their Latino news division in a manner that features the race of the suspect even though it is irrelevant to the story.

Nice job, Fox. You have now insulted a broad-based protest movement whose goals are shared by 70% of the American people, as well as the nation’s fastest growing minority group. Keep up the good work.

Banksters Plotting A Propaganda Offensive Against Occupy Wall Street

Chris Hayes has acquired a memo from a well-connected group of Washington lobbyists to the American Bankers Association. The memo proposes launching a comprehensive campaign against the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement with an $850,000 budget and an intent to “undermine their credibility.” Hayes begins his expose saying that…

“Speaker Boehner’s lobbying buddies are proposing a hit job on Occupy Wall Street. […] The former Boehner aides, who now lobby for Wall Street, sketched out a strategy for deploying proxies to shill for Wall Street and against Occupy without the public knowing.”

The lobbyists’ memo (pdf) goes into detail as to how they would deliver on their promise to suppress the impact of OWS and to punish their defenders whether they be Democrats or Republicans. In fact, the lobbyists are particularly worried about GOP defectors:

“Leading Democratic strategists have begun to openly discuss the benefits of embracing the growing and increasingly organized Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement to prevent Republican gains in Congress and the White House this year […] However, the bigger concern should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies – and might start running against them too.”

That’s a revealing admission that the OWS message has a much broader appeal than is generally acknowledged. It is not insignificant that when Speaker Boehner was confronted with the allegation that Republicans are the champions of Big Business, rather than proudly embrace his constituency, Boehner attempted to shift the criticism to President Obama by asserting that the President’s campaign was the biggest recipient of Wall Street donations. Obama has indeed received a considerable sum from the sector, but most of his contributions are from small donors. And since the Obama administration has been an advocate of financial reform and regulation, and created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau despite industry opposition, it could be said that the Banksters didn’t get much for their money. Further affirming the mass popularity of the OWS message, the memo continues…

“Well-known Wall Street companies stand at the nexus of where OWS protestors and the Tea Party overlap on angered populism. Both the radical left and the radical right are channeling broader frustration about the state of the economy and share a mutual frustration over TARP and other perceived bailouts. This combination has the potential to be explosive later in the year when media reports cover the next round of bonuses and contrast it with stories of millions of Americans making do with less this holiday season.”

The biggest nightmare of this crowd is that OWS and the Tea Party will unite against the One Percenters. An notice that the lobbyists are not concerned with the actual suffering of “millions of Americans making do with less this holiday season,” only the wrenching perception of that fact when juxtaposed with the extravagance and greed of the Wall Streeters whose holidays will be abundantly joyful. That’s why the lobbyists and their Bankster clients need to demonize OWS as lazy, dirty, violent, unfocused, etc. But the lobbyists’ memo appears to recognize that that tactic has not worked:

“It may be easy to dismiss OWS as a ragtag group of protestors but they have demonstrated that they should be treated more like an organized competitor who is very nimble and capable of working the media, coordinating third party support and engaging officeholders to do their bidding.”

Indeed, it is easy to use puerile insults to dismiss OWS, a role that Fox News has embraced with relish. But we are beginning to see the shift from ridicule to respect as the Banksters realize that this movement is competent, committed and has the support of the public. So the response from the lobbyists is to smear the group’s members and spread lies about its composition. The memo even reprises the false assertion that George Soros, a favorite villain of the right, is funding OWS. Then it continues to propose an analysis of OWS’ “extremist leaders” to construct “negative narratives for high-impact media placement,” otherwise known as propaganda.

Finally, the memo outlines an electoral strategy that targets races in battleground states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Mexico, Nevada, and North Carolina. These are all states that Obama won in 2008. In addition to this effort, they offer to “provide cover for political figures who defend the industry.” It’s a full service operation, after all. Watch the video from UP w/Chris Hayes here:

Fox Nation vs. Reality: On The Occupy Wall Street Assassin

More dishonesty from Fox Nation. This time the Fox Nationalists posted an item with the provocative headline, “Man Linked to ‘Occupy’ Protest Charged With Attempted Assassination of Obama”

Fox Nation

Fox News ran a story with the same deceptive theme. They hosted Michelle Malkin to engage in a discussion that was deliberately designed to smear the Occupiers. During the segment they displayed a picture of the suspect, Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, with a caption that said: “‘Occupy’ Shooter.” There was no question mark or other qualifying notation to indicate that this was merely speculation on the part of Fox News.

For the record, the only link between this guy and the Occupy movement is the one invented by Fox. The Washington police have stated unequivocally that they have no evidence that he was affiliated in any with the protesters. Reports that he may have tried to hide in the crowds at the Occupy DC site should not surprise anyone. Any densely populated location would attract somebody trying to elude law enforcement. A football game or an Alzheimer’s Walkathon would serve the same purpose.

What little is known about Ortega-Hernandez would likely lead objective analysts to suspect him of being a Tea Bagger. He is said to be anti-government, hates President Obama, and has a history of mental illness. Could that be Glenn Beck in a fake beard?

ABC News Lists The Wealthy 1% Influencing Politics – But Leaves A Few Out

ABC News has published a list of what they call the “Top 8 Most Powerful Businessmen Influencing Politics.” It is a testament to the success of the Occupy Wall Street movement that a mainstream news organization is even attempting to tackle this issue.

Prior to OWS there was nary a peep about the appalling and dangerous wealth gap in America. The pundits and politicians had a single-minded focus on deficits and ignored the larger question of how they accumulated throughout the Bush administration via tax cuts for rich, off-the-books wars, and irresponsible deregulation.

The Occupy movement has completely shifted the debate to the more relevant issue of economic equity and the abuse of power by corporations and their wealthy proponents. That shift is the reason that ABC News has, for the first time, published a list of One Percenters who influence politics. Unfortunately, the list is woefully incomplete:

  • Koch Brothers
  • George Soros
  • Warren Buffett
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg
  • A. Jerrold Perenchio
  • George Kaiser
  • Howard Schultz

ABC seems to be going out of their way to be non-partisan. The problem with that approach is that the ranks of the wealthy are not themselves non-partisan. Here are a few more Republican power brokers that ABC omitted – and every one a billionaire:

  • Rupert Murdoch
  • Philip Anschutz
  • Sumner Redstone
  • Donald Trump
  • Steve Wynn
  • T. Boone Pickens
  • Arthur Blank
  • Meg Whitman
  • Richard Scaife

The noticeable leaning of wealthy businessmen to the conservative side ought to have been acknowledged by ABC. This is especially true given that so many of them are their colleagues in the media. It is particularly conspicuous that ABC left Rupert Murdoch off of their list given that he may be the world’s most prominent influencer of politics with both his blatantly biased news enterprises and his personal generosity toward conservative causes.

Other than these egregious omissions, it is encouraging to see the mainstream press starting to recognize the imbalance in this nation’s economic and political systems. And for that we can thank the Occupiers.

Andrew Breitbart Joins Fight Against Fat Cats

Right-wing propagandist, Andrew Breitbart, has jumped feet first into the battle against the wealthy 1%ers. Known primarily as a mouthpiece for the conservative elite and Republican power mongers, Breitbart is now attacking someone for having attained a comfortable lifestyle amongst the upper crusties.

Andrew BreitbartBreitbart sent his stalkers to photograph what he calls the “vacation mansion” of this tycoon who is “so wealthy that he does not need to worry about his income,” and enjoys “the kind of luxurious summer home that 99 percent of Americans can only dream of owning.”

This scoop ranks highly amongst Breitbart’s notorious journalistic accomplishments. He is the media patron of video lie-ographer James O’Keefe. He is the perpetrator of the libel that got Shirley Sherrod fired from her position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He orchestrated the campaign against former congressman Anthony Weiner. Most recently he published stolen emails and attempted to recruit his readers to find material to embarrass the Occupy Wall Street movement (he failed to turn up anything).

And now Breitbart has launched an attack against a successful American entrepreneur for having the audacity to spend lavishly from his own earnings. It may be surprising to hear Breitbart staking out this position that seems to align with the views of the 99% of the nation that is protesting the economic inequities in our system. But it is less surprising when you know that the target of Breitbart’s ire is filmmaker Michael Moore. In an effort to soft-pedal his criticism, Breitbart dials back his outrage to assert that…

“No one begrudges Moore his wealth, but it is deceitful for him to claim poverty while encouraging class warfare among other Americans. It is also purely narcissistic and selfish for Moore to back radical and destructive socialist policies that would deny other Americans the opportunity to become as rich as he is.”

Despite his assertion, Breitbart is explicitly begrudging Moore his wealth. His clear implication is that Moore is a hypocrite. But the 99% movement has never been about opposition to financial success. It’s about opposition to corruption, and the undue seizure of power. Contrary to Breitbart’s brazen lie, Moore never claimed poverty. He openly acknowledges his success, for which he is unreservedly grateful. And he does not advocate class warfare. Like the rest of those in the Occupy movement, he merely seeks fairness and an economic environment that allows everyone to prosper. And he understands that democracy is best served when all the people’s voices are heard, not just the barons who bankroll elections.

Shared Sacrifice

Conservatives are all for the free market and the accumulation of wealth so long as as the recipient is an approved member of their club. When someone like Moore, or Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates, or Al Gore, or many other millionaires, speak out on behalf of those with lesser fortunes, people like Breitbart just can’t figure it out. These folks are not declaring war against themselves. They recognize the greater economic benefits of a society that offers affluence to all. It enhances their own financial prospects and makes the country stronger.

But it will always be anathema to the Breitbarts of the world who yearn for exclusivity amongst their ranks. God forbid they might have to rub elbows with the riff-raff. And that’s why Breitbart is reduced to stunts like peering over the hedges of well-off folks that he doesn’t happen to like. If that seems creepy to you, then you are a good judge of character.

Americans Ditching Big Banks By The Tens Of Thousands

The Occupy Wall Street movement has had a profound effect on changing the topic of debate in this country. A couple of months ago the only subject the media would entertain was the national debt and federal spending. Today the conversation has veered to economic inequities and the abuse of corporate power.

An ancillary to the Occupy agenda that arose a few weeks ago is the call for Americans to Move Your Money from big, impersonal banks, to local community banks and credit unions. That initiative climaxed last Saturday as the day designated “Bank Transfer Day.”

By any measure it was a resounding success. The Credit Union National Association reports that $80 million was moved into their member institutions on Saturday alone. For comparison, the CUNA notes that on an average day in 2010, they opened 1,643 new accounts. On November 5th, they opened 40,000 new accounts. Could anyone have predicted this level of success?

Move Your Money

One person whose predictions were typically some distance from reality was Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. Last Friday he engaged Geraldo Rivera in a debate that ended with a brief discussion of the Bank Transfer Day.

Rivera: “Tomorrow there’s a Bank Transfer Day. This is a concrete thing. They are saying ‘Take your money out of the Bank of America. Take your money out of J. P. Morgan Chase. Take your money out of these big banks and put them in small credit unions.’ What if that comes out to tens of millions of dollars in bank transfers?”

O’Reilly: Let me just tell you something. Nobody’s gonna do that. Number one, those people don’t have any money and nobody’s gonna listen to them because they lost credibility.

Ya think O’Reilly will acknowledge his error now that he has been proven to be a lousy prognosticator? Do you think he will address the fact that 650,000 new accounts were opened in the month prior to Bank Transfer Day? That’s more than the total number of new accounts opened in all of last year. Do you think the big banks will stop pretending they don’t care about customers fleeing because they aren’t profitable customers? Yeah, me neither.

Anatomy Of A Fox News Manufactured Political Scandal

It was a blustery November morning. I was in my mother’s basement Tweeting waffle recipes to chums in my Marxist study group. My fingers were still sticky with maple syrup. Then she walked in. Or rather, she showed up in my Google news alerts. Her name was Winter, and it fit her like an Old Navy Fleece hoodie. Jana Winter. She said she was a reporter for Fox News. I should have known right then that she couldn’t be trusted. Everyone knows there aren’t any reporters at Fox News.

Fox News - ACORNWinter had been writing articles about how ACORN, the group of community organizers that ceased to exist more than a year ago, was secretly still operating and was behind the Occupy Wall Street protests. Her stories were obvious fabrications that posed absurd theories wherein the bankrupt ACORN could somehow afford to pay homeless people tens of thousands of dollars to attend rallies that were already populated by thousands of genuine protesters who attended for free.

Winter wrote three progressively more delusional articles on this subject in as many weeks. She was able to be so prolific because she never bothered to gather any actual evidence or testimony from anyone other than anonymous sources. The first article laid out the imaginary ACORN plot to subvert capitalism from beyond the grave. The second alleged that the resurrected ACORN, spooked by Winter’s first article, scrambled to destroy every remnant of its reincarnated existence. Once again, almost every assertion was absent an attribution. Winter is a master at coaxing incriminating confessions from ghosts.

But it’s the third article that reveals the depths of Winter’s deviousness. After laying the groundwork for a scandalous tale of corruption and clandestine schemes, Winter’s latest composition divulges the efforts of Darrell Issa, Congress’ self-appointed hall monitor, to bully the Department of Justice into launching an investigation of the gossip spread in Winter’s columns:

“In a letter dated Monday, Issa, R-Calif., called for U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch of the Eastern District of New York to launch a probe into allegations first reported by”

Notice the meticulous attention to journalistic precision in Winter’s description of Loretta Lynch as the Attorney General. That would be an interesting detail if it happened to be true. But even more interesting is the way she refers to “allegations first reported by” without noting that she is talking about herself. It was her own reporting from which Issa derived his accusations of scandal. Several times in the article Winter cites “reports from” and even noted that “Issa’s letter quotes from the initial report.” Later Winter added that “Issa also referenced a second report.” That second report was also Winter’s handiwork.

So what we have here is a circular wheel of affirmation wherein a Fox News “reporter” invents a phony scandal by writing thinly sourced articles that allege fraudulent activity by a defunct organization. Then a United States congressman cites those articles as evidence that an investigation should ensue. Then the same Fox News reporter writes an article about the congressman’s request for an investigation. I suppose that the next thing we’ll see is Issa citing the Fox News report on members of Congress demanding that the Justice Department investigate. And around it goes.

To be clear, there is absolutely no evidence of any wrongdoing by the non-existent ACORN, the New York Communities for Change (NYCC), whom Winter and Issa are slandering, or the Occupy Wall Street movement. Winter’s articles contain dozens of citations from anonymous sources that are uncorroborated. Yet in the latest article she doesn’t even bother to attempt to interview anyone representing the other side of Issa’s baseless accusations (fair and balanced?).

To her credit, Winter notes the inherent problem with bias in the media on the part of influential news enterprises:

“A leading force in online journalism appears to be making a strong effort to be anything but fair and balanced.”

The only problem is that she is not referring to the bias in her own reporting. That quote was from an article she wrote last month criticizing Arianna Huffington for “injecting her endorsement of the demonstrations into her media outlets’ coverage of the events in lower Manhattan.” It’s another proud moment for Winter who has somehow managed to out Huffington as a liberal. Who knew?

Winter has a bright career ahead of her, so long as she stays at Fox News. She doesn’t know who the Attorney General is. She doesn’t know that the Huffington Post is not a neutral media outlet. She doesn’t know how to compose an article without relying solely on anonymous sources and right-wingers. She doesn’t know that it’s bad form to cite herself as a source for subsequent reporting without disclosure. Best of all, she is not the least bit embarrassed by exhibiting her ignorance in public. If she’s an attractive young blond then she is everything Fox News could hope for.

And therein lies the mystery. Why isn’t she already appearing as part of Bill O’Reilly’s harem? Why hasn’t she filled in for Gretchen Carlson on Fox & Friends? Does Megyn Kelly have some nasty dirt (or dirty pictures) on her? Who can say? As for me, I’ve got bigger fish to fry and can’t be distracted by every dame that Fox throws in my path. Winter’s a big girl and can take care of herself. She’s demonstrated her willingness and ability to peddle Fox’s snake oil with the best of them. And she is adept at feigning being shocked – SHOCKED – to find that there are ACORN shenanigans going on here.