Fox News Posts a Dishonest and Racist Attack on President Obama for Taking a Vacation

For eight long years Fox News was the central bureau for inventing and broadcasting lies about President Obama. Their pseudo-news coverage included allegations that Obama was a secret Muslim who was born in Kenya. They called him a radical, racist, anti-American who was too incompetent to be president. And even though he has been out of office for six months, they still persist in their campaign of contempt.

Fox News Obama Luxury

The Fox News website posted an article last week with the provocative headline “Obamas under fire from the left for never ending, sizzling ultra-luxury vacations.” However, nothing in that tabloid-style headline was true or supported by the content of the article. The whole thing was one of the worst examples of deliberate slander by a network that has specialized in it. The opening paragraphs said that:

“The Democratic base is growing increasingly frustrated with former President Barack Obama’s actions after leaving office, including a seemingly endless tour of millionaire and billionaire luxury retreats, according to Democrats and activists contacted by Fox News. Ex-presidents, understandably and un-controversially, go on vacations immediately after leaving office. But the level of luxury the Obamas enjoy on their vacations is unprecedented for a modern-day president, say travel experts.”

“Since leaving office in late January, Obama has visited late actor Marlon Brando’s private island; the Four Seasons in Bali — where rooms cost upward of $2,000 per night; a Palm Springs estate; Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island; the exclusive Mid Pacific Country Club in Oahu; the 13th-century Borgo Finocchieto in Tuscany; and the Rising Sun, Hollywood studio mogul David Geffen’s private yacht.”

Many of the destinations mentioned belong to Obama’s friends and associates (Branson, Geffen, and former Ambassador to Italy John Phillips). These were not strictly stays at luxury resorts as much as they were visits with friends. But even if they were conventional vacations, so what? Obama has earned the right to spend his leisure time any way he pleases. It’s his time and his money. The hypocrisy of Fox News to make an issue of this is astonishing. Particularly since they have remained silent about Donald Trump’s lavish expenditures at his luxury golf resorts on the American taxpayer’s dime.

In addition to that made-up non-scandal, Fox News portrayed Obama’s critics as disappointed liberals. However, they failed to document that claim in the article. The only quotes used were conspicuously irrelevant. They included a travel agent of unknown political affiliation, and a socialist from Houston. Even worse, they described the rabidly right-wing Fox News contributor Pat Caddell as a “Democratic strategist.” Caddell pretended to worry that Obama’s trips would offend the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. Fox didn’t bother to ask Bernie Sanders.

The only other citation was one from comedian John Oliver. Fox News used him to assert that “The left-wing media is also worried about Obama’s luxury vacations.” While Oliver did joke about Obama kite-surfing while “America is on fire,” it was at worst gentle mockery. And in any case, it was hardly representative of left-wing media. Fox News offered no examples at all of actual media criticisms of any kind from any source.

To their credit, Fox did include a statement from an anonymous source (really?) defending Obama. What they described only as “a former Obama White House official” gave a brief accounting of Obama’s post-presidency activities:

“One of the first actions after leaving office was to mentor young men from Chicago’s south side who are in a job training program called ‘CRED,’ led by former Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The president also donated $2 million recently to help young people in Chicago get apprenticeships and summer jobs. The president is an avid supporter of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative that aims to improve life outcomes for young men of color.”

That was uncharacteristically fair of Fox. But then they immediately returned to Pat Caddell who declared that “it wasn’t enough.” Caddell went on to ask “When is he going to do anything to help people other than enrich himself?” Of course, that questioned was answered in the prior paragraph. Obama has done many more things that also went unmentioned. And he hasn’t been absent from the political stage either. On his Facebook page he made an in-depth statement about the still pending healthcare debate, saying in part:

“The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. […] Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.”

Obama also made his position on immigration clear through his spokesperson. “The President fundamentally disagrees,” he said, “with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”

The article made a ludicrous comparison between Obama’s post-presidency and that of Carter and the Bushes. But all of them were wealthy before they moved into the White House. This is Obama’s first opportunity to enjoy his good fortune as a private citizen. There is a distinct note of racism in Fox’s attack that suggests that this sort of activity is undeserved for the black guy. They never offered any such criticism of presidents Carter, Reagan, Clinton, or the Bushes. Why is it only Obama who is characterized negatively for hobnobbing with the rich and famous? What exactly is it that makes him different? Can you possibly imagine?

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

Trump’s ‘Enemy Of The American People’ Is A Direct Threat To The Free Press

From the outset of Donald Trump’s campaign he has made the media a target of his attacks, insults and retribution. He has called them liars and sleazy and horrible people. Keeping them penned up at his rallies was common, as was expelling those he especially disliked.

Donald Trump

Organizations that advocate for the welfare of journalists have expressed their concerns with justifiable anxiety. The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a warning that “A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.” The National Press Club released a similar statement condemning Trump’s anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.”

Now Trump has taken his abuse a step further into an ominous future. He posted on Twitter a message that reeks of an authoritarian stranglehold on one of America’s most cherished principles. The Free Press. He tweeted:

Trump’s characterization of the press as “the enemy of the American People!” has roots in some of the most oppressive historical dictatorships. It goes back to ancient Roman times. However, it has been used as recently as the 1950’s by China’s Chairman Mao Tse-tung to suppress freedom. Trump’s usage is particularly repulsive because of the overtly violent overtones that infect so much of his rhetoric. Is he deliberately fomenting violence against the press now? As an aside, it’s curious that he thinks the media is the enemy of the American people, but that it isn’t his enemy.

In the United States, disgraced former President Richard Nixon made an almost identical statement in private. He said that “The press is the enemy, the establishment is the enemy, the professors are the enemy.” Sound familiar? But Trump is saying it very publicly. It’s also notable that Nixon’s Watergate scandal and Trump’s current transgressions have similar beginnings. The Republican operatives who broke into Democratic offices at the Watergate were called the “Plumbers” because their purpose was to plug up leaks. And that’s exactly the focus of Trump’s complaints.

The “enemy of the people” theme is likely the handiwork of Trump’s alt-right, white supremacist aide, Stephen Bannon. In 2012 his Breitbart News website featured a commentary by Trump supporter Pat Caddell. In it Caddell said that “The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power,” So far, so good. However, he continued to say that they have “desert[ed] those ramparts” and “made themselves the enemy of the American people.”

Mao, Nixon, Breitbart. Is there a pattern forming? Trump would be thrilled to discredit the media that he regards as the “opposition party.” Then he could rant relentlessly with his “alternative facts” and outright lies without restraint or objective scrutiny. He could rely on disreputable “news” manglers like Breitbart, Infowars, the National Enquirer, and Fox News to lead his campaign of disinformation.

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

This needs to be taken seriously. Trump is not kidding when he says the free press is the enemy. Last October he complained that “Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and get away with it.” Trump is actually appalled that the press can say whatever they want. It’s a freedom that he would eagerly undo given the opportunity. That would leave us with his factless accounts of a delusional world that exalts him and maligns his critics. He must be stopped by any (legal) means necessary.

2014: An Epic Year For Conservative Crackpot Conspiracy Theories

Recalling the bygone year, there were enough examples of political foolishness, public embarrassment, and unabashed propaganda, to fill a trainload of FEMA caskets. But nothing comes close to boggling the mind like conspiracy theories rooted in nothing but psychotic paranoia and partisan dementia.

News Corpse has covered much of what the right-wing media has attempted to pass off as legitimate news, but was actually evidence of severe cognitive failure. So, as a reminder of 2014’s most ludicrous departures from reality, here is a compilation of some of the best (worst?) excretions from the imagination of the conservative hive mind.

CONSPIRACY: President Obama Is Trying To Impeach Himself

The evil genius in the White House orchestrated the whole Obama-hate campaign from its earliest days in 2008 just so that he would be able to use impeachment, which is every president’s dream, as an election strategy six years into his presidency. He had the foresight to anticipate that his anti-America agenda, developed in concert with the Muslims and Marxists in his inner circle, would make the 2014 midterms so difficult that he would need something positive, like having himself prosecuted before Congress for high crimes and misdemeanors, in order to stem the tide of opposition that would rise up.

Impeach Obama

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

Ben Carson Fears That Obama Will Declare Himself President for Life.

The United States and its democratic system has endured for over 200 years, through economic catastrophes, civil and world wars, Nixonian corruption, and assassinations. Yet Carson thinks that it may all soon be over because of our present economy (with it’s soaring stock market, record profits, and low unemployment), and a band of desert rats 8,000 miles away?

Ben Carson

Glenn Beck Asserts That Obama Purposely Planted Ebola In Dallas

Obviously President Obama’s agenda centers around the fact that he hates Dallas so much that he arranged to have an Ebola-infected Liberian fly there and die. […] First and foremost, it is not true that Dallas “doesn’t particularly care for the President.” In 2012 Obama was reelected with 57% of the vote from Dallas County. That’s a larger margin than he won nationally. Obama also beat McCain in Dallas by the same amount in 2008.

Glenn Beck Ebolamania

Steve Doocy Discovers A Mysterious Photo Of Two Men With One Pair Of Legs.

Doocy: Fox News Alert: New questions about those two Iranian men who boarded flight 370 with stolen passports. Did somebody Photoshop this picture of them, because they both appear to have the same legs. That’s leading many to believe there is a cover-up happening. […] The Malaysians are saying ‘No, we didn’t Photoshop or anything like that. They had a Xerox copy and part of the guy on the left was put on top of the duplicate of the guy on the right. Do you buy that?

Fox News Cover Up Passengers

According To “Doctor” Keith Ablow, Obama Orchestrated The World Cup To Distract From [???]

Somehow Obama orchestrated FIFA’s scheduling of the quadrennial games to coincide with whatever scandal is presently infecting Ablow’s brain so that the American people, who usually ignore soccer, won’t notice that FEMA has already begun incarcerating Tea Party leaders and the EPA is deploying new Pentagon technology to increase global temperatures. What a devious plot our Kenyan in the White House has devised.

Keith Ablow

Conservative Media Freak Out Over Obama’s Plan To Grant Amnesty To 34 Million Illegal Aliens

The usual conservative media mouthpieces are reporting that there is a plot afoot by the Obama administration to grant amnesty to some 34 million “illegal” aliens soon after the midterm election. To put that number into perspective, that’s more than three times as many undocumented immigrants as are currently estimated to be in the United States. It’s a third of the entire population of Mexico. If they all occupied a new state it would be the second most populous state in the country after California with 38 million.

Fox News

Louie Gohmert Accuses Comcast Of Attempting To Silence Glenn Beck

Gohmert found an angle to question the [Comcast/Time Warner] merger that only he could have dreamed up. He believes that Comcast is engaged in a conspiracy to silence Glenn Beck. And Al Gore is in on it along with Al Jazeera who “wanted to get their Sharia law push into the United States.”

Glenn Beck

Pat Caddell Says That It Is Republicans That Want The IRS To Go After The Tea Party

Did the Republicans infiltrate the IRS and orchestrate a strategy to deny Tea Partiers tax-exempt status? Did they conduct sham hearings in the House, led by the crusading committee chair (and recidivist criminal) Darrel Issa, all the while maneuvering secretly to oppress Tea Party organizations and cast the blame on Democrats?

False Flag

GOP Rep Tells Fox News That Obama Plans To Flood U.S. With Foreign Ebola Patients

The plot was discovered by the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte, who claims to have confidential information that came to him via an “inside source” within the administration. Naturally he takes this skimpy, unverifiable gossip to Megyn Kelly of Fox News. The alarmist anxiety of Rep. Goodlatte is typical of the fear mongering that Republican politicians and pundits engage in so frequently.

Fox News Ebola to America

Fox News Imagines Another Covert Plot Against Rick Perry (And America) By George Soros

Brent Bozell’s op-ed for Fox News is titled “Mainstream media censors Soros’ connection to Rick Perry indictment.” He begins his bill of peculiars by alleging that the media has suppressed the truth about Texans for Public Justice (TPJ), the group that originally filed the complaint against Perry. Bozell claims that “the group responsible for that indictment had received a half million dollars” from Soros. However, there is a very good reason that the press failed to disclose this information: It isn’t true.

Fox News Rick Perry

Fright-Wing News: Fox News Reports, As Fact, The Missing Libyan Planes Hoax

Fox News anchor Jon Scott introduced a segment saying “A potentially terrifying scenario is playing out as we approach September 11. Nearly a dozen airplanes are missing – flat out missing – from an airport in Tripoli, raising new fears of the possibility of another terror attack from the air.”

OMG! That is truly terrifying. I can almost hear the roar of a dozen jet engines filling the sky with thunderous evil as they aim for defenseless skyscrapers packed with unsuspecting victims. Why doesn’t Obama raise the threat level to “Unrestrained Panic” and evacuate America’s cities? Perhaps because the story is not true.

Fox News Missing Planes

Fun With Rush: Limbaugh Explains How The Dreaded Polar Vortex Was Created By Liberals

El Rushbo has dusted off his fake degree in meteorology to explain to his dittohead audience how something that has been studied for decades was just invented by some Democrats this week.

Limbaugh: So, ladies and gentlemen, we are having a record-breaking cold snap in many parts of the country. And right on schedule the media have to come up with a way to make it sound like it’s completely unprecedented. Because they’ve got to find a way to attach this to the global warming agenda, and they have. It’s called the ‘polar vortex.’ The dreaded polar vortex. […] Do you know what the polar vortex is? Have you ever heard of it? Well, they just created it for this week.

Rush Limbaugh

And there you have it. Just a taste of the insanity that has infected one of America’s two major political parties. And all of it occurring in just one hilarity-packed year. The only thing that makes these frighteningly absurd episodes of psychosis even more disturbing, is that in 2015 these are the folks who will be in charge of both the United States House of Representatives and Senate. So happy new Year America, and good luck. You’re gonna need it.

CONSPIRACY: Republicans Want The IRS To Go After The Tea Party

It’s hard to know how to present the discussion that took place this weekend on Fox News. During their recurring segment on Political Insiders, Fox contributor Pat Caddell floated his theory that it is Republicans who are responsible for the alleged targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS (video below).

False Flag

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Caddell: The establishment Republicans want the IRS to go after the Tea Party. Got it? They want to go after the Tea Party. Because the Tea Parties are an outside threat to their power hold. And, I’m telling you, the lobbying, consulting class of the Republican party, the Republican leadership, who have been attacking the Tea Parties and alienating them, they want the IRS doing this.

If that’s true, then Caddell has uncovered a clandestine plot by the GOP to sabotage their strongest conservative allies and most reliable Republican activists and voters. Did the Republicans infiltrate the IRS and orchestrate a strategy to deny Tea Partiers tax-exempt status? Did they conduct sham hearings in the House, led by the crusading committee chair (and recidivist criminal) Darrel Issa, all the while maneuvering secretly to oppress Tea Party organizations and cast the blame on Democrats? It’s not unlike a scenario I mockingly offered last year that accused the GOP of a False Flag Operation.

It’s kind of a brilliant plan that would stifle intra-party rivals while putting Democratic foes in a negative light. And there are elements of the story that could be corroboration for such a plot. For instance, it turns out that the IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, and Lois Lerner, the head of the agency’s Tax-Exempt Organizations division, were Republicans hired by George W. Bush. So it never made sense that they would be engaged in a conspiracy to help Democrats silence the Tea Party.

On the other hand, Caddell could be in the throes of severe dementia resulting in his imagining a wild conspiracy wherein the GOP is just another enemy of the patriots waving tea bags around. If his musings hold weight, should we expect Issa to convene new hearings indicting Republicans for their complicity in the alleged scandal? For that matter, can we expect apologies from Issa, and dozens of other Republican politicians and pundits, who falsely accused the Democrats of conspiring against the Tea Party?

So which is it? Is Caddell breaking news or smoking crack? It’s often hard to tell with many of the ludicrous theories that waft from the halls of Fox News.

A Panicky Roger Ailes Unleashes The Fox News Hounds

Roger AilesFox News CEO Roger Ailes is revealing the creeping dread he harbors at the prospect of being exposed in a new biography that will be released in a few weeks. As a result of his manic paranoia he has assembled his Flunky Brigade to mount a large-scale offensive meant to preemptively discredit the forthcoming book and its author, Gabriel Sherman.

Dylan Byers at Politico wrote about this blitzkrieg earlier this month in an article that detailed how Sherman has already been targeted by Ailes’ defenders on the Fox News payroll. They have assailed him as a “phony journalist,” a “stalker,” a “harasser,” and when all else fails, as “a [George] Soros puppet.” This is the same battle plan that Ailes executed when he was faced with the release of a damning portrait of Fox News by Media Matters founder David Brock. Ailes dispatched his defenders to slanderously malign Brock as a mentally unstable, drug abusing, megalomaniac. It’s the Ailes way.

Now another Ailes puppet, Pat Caddell, has been recruited into the fray with an utterly daft hit piece in the form of an editorial on Caddell begins his protracted rant as a self-glorifying account of how he was the genius behind a thirty year old, moth-eaten speech by Jimmy Carter. But that was just the set up on a labyrinthine journey to disparage Sherman’s pending biography of Ailes, about which Caddell said with more than hint of hyperbole, “the mere publication of his book will go beyond controversy. Its publication would, in and of itself, be a scandal.” However, nothing in Caddell’s feverish disgorging ever explained what would be so scandalous about it. The entire article reads like a reject from the notoriously disreputable Fox Nation, but even that Fox annex wouldn’t re-post this tripe.

Try to follow along as Caddell weaves a nearly incoherent tale of intrigue. The pretext for his ire was an alleged claim of credit for the Carter speech by Gordon Stewart, who just happened to be one of Carter’s speechwriters. Caddel insists, however, that Stewart had little to do with the speech, but Caddell kept that opinion to himself for several years. His impetus for speaking out years later was a rather childish response to an unrelated article by Stewart wherein he negatively reviewed a friendly biography of Ailes that was written by Ailes’ personally selected lackey Zev Chafets for the purpose of beating Sherman’s book to market. Caddell wrote “When I saw that Stewart had trashed author Chafets for picayune inaccuracies in his Ailes book, I said to myself, ‘Enough is enough. If Stewart is going to dump on Chafets for tiny mistakes, then I should let everyone know that Stewart has been telling a whopper for years.'”

In other words. because Caddell didn’t like Stewart’s review of the sycophantic bio that Ailes himself had solicited, Caddell would dredge up an old, unrelated dispute to lash out at Stewart. At this point you may wonder what any of this has to do with Gabriel Sherman. Well, Caddell drags him into this with this introduction: “There’s a person named Gabriel Sherman, a writer for New York magazine and a fellow at the New America Foundation–a left-of-center think-tank to which George Soros and others in the Soros family have contributed.” The Soros affiliation was thrown in because Caddell knows that the Fox audience has a knee jerk gag response to the name. What Caddell fails to note is that his Fox colleague, conservative pundit Jim Pinkerton, was also a New America Foundation fellow.

Are you still following? Caddell’s problem with Sherman is that while conducting research on Caddell’s article attacking Stewart, Sherman asked Caddell to document his assertion that Stewart had improperly claimed credit for the Carter speech. Caddell had written that “Four years ago, in both print and in interviews, Stewart claimed to be the author of the “crisis of confidence” speech.” Sherman then had the audacity to ask Caddell to direct him to the articles and/or interviews that Caddell had referenced. This resulted in Caddell having a conniption fit and declaring that Sherman “can’t or won’t find something that is plainly a part of the public record, and then he writes me a faux-friendly e-mail asking me to help him.”

That’s a bit of an over-reaction, it would seem. The first thing an experienced journalist would do to verify a quote would be to ask the person quoted for his sources. Why spend untold hours digging up years-old documents if the person who cited them could simply send you a link? But Caddell thinks that was an outrageous request and indicative of poor research skills. On the basis of that, Caddell extrapolates that Sherman is incompetent and his book on Ailes, which Caddell has never seen, will be a hack job.

That’s a fairly thin basis for criticism. But if you think that’s bad, have look at the tantrum Caddell throws in his final paragraph:

“Frankly, Mr. Sherman, you are an embarrassment to the journalistic trade, and if your book is in the same vein, it will be an embarrassment to your publisher and a disservice to the reading public. Please take my advice: Grow up, get a life, and most of all, leave me alone. Got that?”

Seriously? Was Caddell’s emotional maturity stunted at the junior high level? That’s the most pathetically impotent threat I’ve ever seen in print. And the entire tirade was just an excuse to bash a book that he knows nothing about because the author asked him a simple and reasonable question. The lengths to which Caddell has gone, at the behest of his Fox master Roger Ailes, demonstrates just how worried they are about the revelations that Sherman’s book may contain. And it reveals them to be so desperate that they would resort to these ineffectual bullying tactics.

The question is, are they also so delusional that they believe that any of this will have anything other than a positive effect on Sherman and the reception for his book? If anything, it will increase anticipation all the more, which would be ironic because the Chafets book on Ailes was a thundering dud, that sold less than 3,000 copies its first week. That prompted Chafets to tell The New Republic that “Most people don’t care about Roger Ailes.” That’s a curious remark for an author to make about the subject of his latest book.

In the end, Ailes, Caddell, and Chafets may be adding to their own gnawing sense of envy by giving Sherman’s book a big PR boost that could help sales. Perhaps Sherman should send them a thank you note. Well, except for Caddell who wants to be left alone.

Fox News: A Fundamental Threat To American Democracy And The Enemies Of The American People

On Tuesday’s edition of the Judge Jeanine Pirro show on Fox News, Pirro hosted a discussion with celebrated media analysts Ann Coulter and Pat Caddell. The segment was predictably filled with partisan histrionics and wild-eyed hyperbole aimed at what they perceive to be the “liberal” media.

Fox News

Setting aside the hysterical irony of Fox News pretending to make a neutral assessment of the bias of any other media, the Coulter/Caddell team managed to outdo themselves and the network for which they so ably shill. Caddell, in particular, articulated an emotionally unhinged rant about how fatally biased the media has been in favor of President Obama. Caddell stammered and came close to slobbering as he vented his extreme disgust for the press. And then, in a fit that seemed more like a seizure, he spilled the unvarnished truth that had been swelling his pea-brain to unnatural dimensions:

“The leading mainstream media…they have become a fundamental threat to American democracy and the enemies of the American people.”

Good Lord! That’s a striking revelation coming from a devoted Fox News flunkie. And the only logical assumption is that he is talking about Fox News itself. Since we know that the “leading mainstream media,” based on viewership and circulation, is Fox News and its corporate parent entities (i.e. the Wall Street Journal), Caddell is indicting his employer as an enemy of the American people. And not a minute too soon.

Anyone tuning in to Fox News can see an unending stream of bile spewed at President Obama and Democrats/liberals in general. They seek to blame Obama for a wide array of invented scandals. They hype survey data by disreputable pollsters who always seem to find Obama trailing. They interview a familiar cast of Obama-haters who never disappoint in lavishing insults on their perceived ideological adversaries on the left. And many of those guests are actively employed by right-wing organizations and candidates, but Fox never discloses those affiliations.

I couldn’t agree more with Caddell that such blatant dishonesty and misrepresentation is the work of America’s enemies. I just didn’t expect it to come from a Fox News wingnut who is paid to serve that enemy. The proof of their dastardly misdeeds is seen in surveys that show that Fox viewers are significantly more ill-informed than viewers of other media, or even people who watch no news at all.

What’s really funny, though, is how upset Fox gets when other media fail to jump on their bandwagon of lies. For some reason Fox can’t comprehend that legitimate reporters don’t want to tarnish their reputations by disseminating the same kind of falsehoods that are the hallmark of Fox News.

Fox News Airs Hour Long Commercial For Anti-Obama Film On Hannity

Fox News has long served as the public relations arm of the Republican Party. Their purpose, as always, is to promote the GOP and the conservative agenda throughout their broadcast day. In pursuit of that mission they regularly feature Republican guests in the friendliest of environments. And whenever there is a conservative cause to promote (i.e. Tea Party, Palin movie, right-wing blog, anti-left messaging, etc.), Fox steps up to take the leading role.

Consistent with this mission, Friday night’s episode of Sean Hannity’s program on Fox News was a blatant infomercial promoting an anti-Obama movie by the people who brought us Citizens United. The crocumentary “The Hope and the Change” consumed the entire hour of Hannity’s program.

Sean Hannity - Hope and Change

The primetime program featured lengthy clips from the film as well as interviews with the film’s creators, David Bossie and Steve Bannon. Bossie is the head of Citizens United, the organization that prompted the abhorrent Supreme Court decision that made it possible for individuals and corporations to donate unlimited sums of cash to political candidates and causes. Bannon is the director of the monumental flop, “Sarah Palin: Undefeated,” a movie that managed to fail miserably despite millions of dollars in free publicity courtesy of Fox News. Bannon went on to take the reins of Breitbart News after the sudden death of Andrew Breitbart, and he somehow succeeded in making the site even more idiotic.

Hannity opened the infomercial with the stark declaration that…

“I don’t say this lightly, but I mean every word of this. This is the most powerful documentary I’ve ever seen in my life.”

That’s quite a testimonial. Hannity didn’t reveal what other documentaries he’s seen, but it’s fair to guess that his second favorite would be “Triumph of the Will,” Hitler’s propaganda film directed by Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl. Now that may seem like an unfair attempt to associate Hannity and the anti-Obama film with the Third Reich, but the film actually incorporates portions of Riefenstahl’s score, and Bossie openly admits to intentionally including the music for effect. When asked about his choice of music Bossie confessed that “There are no accidents in this film.” So the Hitler reference was deliberate on the part of the filmmakers.

Along with Bossie and Bannon, a key figure in the film’s production was Pat Caddell, the former democratic pollster who has become a fixture on Fox News whenever they need someone they can falsely identify as a Democrat who will mercilessly, and dishonestly, savage his former colleagues. Caddell’s role was to assemble a group of disenchanted Obama supporters who could be manipulated to bash the President’s reelection bid.

In fact, the whole focus of the film’s message was that there are some folks who voted for Obama in 2008 who don’t plan to vote for him again. That isn’t exactly an earth shattering revelation. Many people on both sides of the political spectrum change their minds. But the people featured in this film were particularly daft. They expressed their disappointment in the President because he didn’t fulfill their expectations of miraculous healings and the saving of souls. In their own words they seemed to believe that Obama could achieve the impossible, and when he didn’t they abandoned him. That is probably a tiny demographic in America and they are not likely to have a noticeable impact on the election.

By comparison, the Obama campaign just released a video of former Republicans who will be supporting the President in November. Their stories are far more representative of typical moderates who are surprised and appalled by the extremist leanings of the modern Republican Party.

Republicans just adopted a platform for the party’s convention that illustrates how far from the mainstream they have drifted. It includes an anti-abortion plank with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother; an immigration plank that calls for “self-deportation;” a plank advocating a return to the gold standard; a provision denying women a role in combat; opposition to same-sex marriage; and support for turning Medicare into a voucher program that will cost seniors thousands of dollars more.

Those are real issues that will drive the voting decisions of rational moderates. The glassy-eyed sycophants plucked out of obscurity by the anti-Obama film crew will have zero effect on clear-thinking voters as they evaluate the agendas put forward by Obama and Romney. What may have an effect, however, are the millions of dollars the filmmakers have promised to spend on advertising their crocumentary. They can finance their campaign with funds acquired from the sort of Super PACs that their Supreme Court decision enabled.

What’s disturbing about this is that they freely admit that their purpose is not so much to promote the film, but to let their ads serve as disguised political messages aimed at disparaging the President and affecting the outcome of the election. The reason that they chose this month to release the film was so their advertising would appear during the campaign season and they could pretend that it was merely marketing for the movie. And I repeat, this is not a conspiracy theory, it is something they specifically admit to and boast about.

Of course, the filmmakers always have Fox News to fuel their hype. The GOP network is more than happy to donate as much time as necessary to promote the movie, just as they have done for prior projects. The Hannity show was just the beginning. The film will officially debut at the Republican National Convention Etch-a-Sketch next week, and there will surely be more segments devoted to the film on Fox News. And while they will help to boost the success of this commercial, for-profit hit piece, it is highly unlikely that Fox will give much time (if any) to the political communication above from the Obama campaign. That would, after all, be too much like actually reporting the news which, as we know, Fox doesn’t do.

If Fox News Can Breed Their Own Democrats…

Watching Fox News, you sometimes have to wonder where they get the idea that they can call their guests “Democrats.” It appears that they go to great lengths to find the most objectionable opponents of the Democratic Party and slap them in front of a camera with “D” next to their name. For instance:

Doug Schoen: Republicans need to bring back the optimism and inspiration that Ronald Reagan championed so well. If they can take ownership of bringing the country a new sense of hope and possibility they have a bright future ahead.

Mara Liasson: I think this the tea party movement, the big question when it started is will this be a divisive thing for the Republican Party or will it be a source of energy? I think it’s turning out to be a source of energy.

Pat Caddell: The problem is that we have a Potemkin village presidency here. We have facades. The facade of being open government and new politics and then behind it Chicago gangsterism going on.

Kirsten Powers: [Sarah Palin] is the embodiment of what feminism is all about. She’s a working mother, she’s successful, her husband helps with the children. We should be excited about this, even if you don’t support her.

Boy, with friends like that, who needs enemas? This list just scratches the surface. The Fox Democratic lineup has also featured such Democrat bashers as Lanny Davis, Susan Estrich, Harold Ford, Jr., and even Dick Morris. And that’s just their regulars. Fox scours the news wires to find any incident wherein a Democrat is critical of other Democrats. In fact, that’s the fastest way for a Democrat to get invited to appear on Fox.

If Fox News gets to chose who they think represent Democrats, I think I should be able to decide who is a Republican. So I’ve assemble a short list of folks whom I believe best represent the state of the GOP:

Michael Moore: Is there a difference between Democrats and Republicans? Sure. The Republicans just come right out and give the bastards a corner office in the West Wing.

Al Gore: The most disturbing aspect of the Republican political culture is how it puts its unquenchable thirst for power, domination and a radical ideology above facts, reason and the truth.

Lindsey Lohan: Is our country so divided that the Republicans best hope is [Sarah Palin] a narrow minded, media obsessed homophobe?

Benito Mussolini: Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.

That should level the playing field.

Fox News Democrats: Dumb As Doorknobs

Fox News Trap

I have long advocated that Democrats and progressives refrain from appearing on Fox News (see Starve the Beast). To some extent that advice has been heeded and many prominent Democrats are staying away or curtailing their visits.

Consequently, Fox has had to fabricate their own version of Democrats and they have created them in their own image. They start by wrangling has-beens who are probably desperate for attention and then promise them airtime and the respect of Fox viewers who love to hear bad things about Democrats, especially from reputed Democrats.

Tonight’s analysis of the primary in Pennsylvania provides a good example of this. On Greta Van Susteren’s show, “Democratic” pollster Doug Schoen appeared to offer this cretinous take on Joe Sestak’s victory over Arlen Specter:

Van Susteren: This Specter loss is a huge shift, is it not?
Schoen: Absolutely Greta. This is an anti-Washington, probably anti-Obama vote that makes clear that incumbency and being a Washington insider or a political insider is just not good.
Van Susteren: So what does it mean? I mean you have Sen.Bennett losing a few weeks ago. So is it anti-Washington or anti-Democrat?
Schoen: It’s both. I mean there’s clearly anti-Washington sentiment. On the Republican side it’s the Tea Party movement. On the Democratic side it’s more liberal anti-systemic sentiment. In November I think what we’re going to see is anti-Democratic sentiment because the Democrats control the executive branch and congress but there’s a lot of anger on both sides of the aisle, that’s for sure.

Where does Schoen get the idea that Sestak’s win is anti-Obama? The President and the Democratic establishment in Pennsylvania only backed Specter out of loyalty for his having switched parties. But Sestak ran as an Obama Democrat pledging to support health care, financial regulation, job creation, energy reform, and other White House initiatives. He was not against the President by any stretch of the imagination, and the White House will surely support him in the general election in November.

The vote for Sestak was an affirmation of Democratic principles, not a repudiation. Pennsylvanians were not interested in giving Specter, a Republican senator for over thirty years, another term based on his decades of support for the GOP. They had a real Democrat to vote for in Sestak, so they did. But somehow Schoen took that to be an anti-Obama, anti-Democrat position. And he added a warning that Democrats had better “move to the center” or they will “pay a huge, huge, price in the midterm election.” That advice is as bad as his election analysis.

Another Fox News Dem, Pat Caddell, delivered an opinion that was so harebrained that Rush Limbaugh quoted it:

“The Democratic Party is purging the Democrats. A lot of it is just anger, and this is anti-establishment. […] We have never had, in my experience of studying alienation – I started when I was 20 years old in polling, 19 in doing national politics, and I want to tell you: Never have I seen anger as great as it is.”

Wrong again. As I noted above, Spector’s loss was the purging of a Republican who had flipped to the Dems in a cynical attempt to retain his seat. And how can Caddell, who is 60 years old, say that he has never seen anger like this? If he was 20 when he started out, then he went through the Vietnam years and Watergate, as well as the Clinton impeachment. Does he really think that Tea Baggers are more angry than anti-war protesters or civil rights marchers were?

The truth is that Schoen and Caddell have been wrong for a long time. They co-authored an op-ed for the Washington Post in February that concluded with an ominous warning for Democrats:

“Unless the Democrats fundamentally change their approach, they will produce not just a march of folly but also run the risk of unmitigated disaster in November. “

Well, to the extent that the primaries held today represent a preview of November, Schoen and Caddell have completely missed the boat. Sestak’s win is a win for Democratic principles and gives Pennsylvania Dems a better chance at winning in November. And Jack Conway’s victory in Kentucky, and Bill Halter forcing Blanche Lincoln into a runoff in Arkansas, are further repudiations of the Schoen-Caddell cabal.

Schoen’s and Caddell’s careers consist almost entirely of repeated appearances on Fox. They frequently show up on Cavuto and Beck, and recently appeared together on Hannity’s show. They seem to have discovered that they can make a couple of bucks by pretending to be Democrats and advising the party to be more like Republicans. Their advice, however, has proven to be wrong time and time again. So the only thing stupider than the advice these phonies peddle would be for any Democrat to take it.