Rupert Murdoch: Glenn Beck Is Right. Obama Is A Racist

News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch gave a wide-ranging interview to his own Sky News Australia. He is apparently not in a very good mood.

The interview touched on the so-called “war” between Fox News and the White House. Murdoch was asked a question about assertions that Fox is “an arm of the Republican Party.” Murdoch responded saying, “Everyone knows that’s nonsense” and charging that White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, is “a very young, inexperienced guy.” Of course, it was White House communications director, Anita Dunn, who made the comment, not Gibbs. Murdoch continued his defense of the fairness of Fox by bashing President Obama. When asked how the President was doing, Murdoch glibly replied with one word: “Badly.” He then claimed that only a couple of commentators on the network were presenting opinions. However, we know that isn’t true. Nevertheless, he falsely asserted that…

“We have on Republicans and we have on Democrats and we have them debate. The other networks only have Democrats, or something to the left of them.”

The truth, however, is that Fox does not have now, nor ever has had, a program hosted solely by a Democrat/liberal. CNN has Lou Dobbs, Nancy Grace, and until a few months ago, Glenn Beck. MSNBC currently has a three hour morning show hosted by conservative former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough. They have also employed Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Michael Savage. Despite the evident dishonesty by Murdoch, he still defends his network’s balance. When the interviewer inquired as to characterizations of the President as Stalinist, Murdoch firmly objected saying,

“No no, not Stalin I don’t think. I don’t know who that is. Not one of our people.”

Oh really?

This screenshot is from the Glenn Beck show wherein Beck displayed pictures of Hitler, Stalin, and Lenin, and asked, “Is this where we’re headed?” But perhaps the most shocking moment in the interview was when Murdoch was asked about Beck calling the President a racist. Despite the widespread condemnation of Beck, the loss of eighty advertisers, and even Murdoch’s qualification that the comment may not have been proper, Murdoch openly and unequivocally declared that he agrees with Beck.

“He [Obama] did make a very racist comment about blacks and whites and so on. Which he said in his campaign he would be completely above. And it was something that, perhaps, shouldn’t have been said about the President, but if you actually assess what he [Beck] was talking about, he was right.”

So now we have an unadulterated admission from Murdoch that he believes the President is a racist. If there was ever a time to make Murdoch pay for the blatant bias and hostility for which he and his enterprise are responsible, it is now. If Beck can lose eighty advertisers for calling Obama a racist, what penalty should Murdoch pay?

Two organizations have already embarked on protest activities aimed at Fox News. Color of Change is the group that successfully persuaded advertisers to shun Beck. MoveOn has a petition requesting that Democratic representatives avoid fox News. Both of the groups should now escalate the actions to include all Fox programs and all Democratic and progressive politicians, advisors, consultants, etc.

Fox News, and the rest of the Murdoch empire, has absolutely no credibility or integrity. They do not deserve to be regarded as a news enterprise. They have demonstrated their overt prejudice and their intent on being rightist advocates, not journalists. Murdoch says that he wants to be remembered as…

“…someone who has contributed to the world and has tried to make the world more interesting and better. And used the media to good effect.”

Well he certainly has made a contribution. He has contributed Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity and more division and hatred than any media organization before him. And he has used the media to good effect. Well…it’s good if you like people shouting down free speech at town hall meetings and carrying posters of the President with Hitler mustaches. So it is our duty to treat them the same way we would treat partisans like the National Review, the Weekly Standard, WorldNetDaily, the Drudge Report, or any other avowed opponent. It is time to make a stand.

Stay the HELL off of Fox News: Starve The Beast!

Update: Media Matters has started an online petition calling on Murdoch to apologize. I don’t think that he will do so, but I do think it helps to send a message to him and the rest of the media that his remarks are objectionable and inappropriate. So go sign the petition.

Update II: Gary Ginsberg, a spokesman for Murdoch told Politico that Murdoch “does not at all, for a minute, think the president is a racist.” Sort of makes you wonder what he meant when he said that Glenn Beck was right when he called Obama a racist. But Ginsberg refused any further comment.

Fox News Bias: It Is NOT Just Primetime

What on earth is it going to take to get rid of this persistent falsehood that Fox is only slanted right in primetime? So much of the recent squabble between the White House and Fox is predicated on this easily refuted premise. If it were only O’Reilly and Hannity spewing their nonsense, the President would likely have never mentioned it. But the bias is firmly integrated throughout the day’s programming and is presented as news.

The latest clueless commentary comes from CNN’s Campbell Brown who said:

“Just as Fox News leans to the right with their opinionated hosts in primetime, MSNBC leans left. I don’t think anyone at Fox or MSNBC would disagree with that.”

In addition to perpetuating the primetime myth, Brown conveniently forgets that three hours in the morning on MSNBC are given over to a conservative Republican, former congressman, Joe Scarborough. But more to the point, a quick look at Fox’s schedule reveals the lie that seems to be invincible. But here is the truth:

Glenn Beck is not on in primetime. Neil Cavuto is not on in primetime. Major Garrett is not on in primetime. Steve Doocy is not on in primetime. Gretchen Carlson is not on in primetime. Carl Cameron is not on in primetime. There are, in fact, more hours of rightist propaganda that are NOT in primetime than there are IN primetime. Why is it so hard to get these facts to sink in?

This troubling tunnel-vision can only make things worse. It gives Fox a pass on their most egregious violations of journalistic ethics. And it makes reports like yesterday’s announcement that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs met with Fox News executive Michael Clemente, seem useless. What could they discuss of substance if such a large chunk of the truth is waived off.

I wonder what they would discuss anyway. The gossip in the press is that a truce was on the table. Really? Does that mean that, in exchange for refraining from calling out Fox, Glenn Beck would stop calling everyone in the White House a radical Marxist? Will Sean Hannity stop finding corruption in everything from the Olympics to the Nobel Peace Prize? Will Neil Cavuto stop implying that every jump in the stock market is due to the tea baggers and every dip is Obama’s fault? How would the Fox audience respond to the revelation that Fox agreed to moderate their prejudices in an effort to make nice with the President?

Media Matters has established a method of distinguishing between a legitimate news organization and a propaganda dispenser. Here is an abridged sampling:

  • If you regularly doctor quotes and videos to completely change the original meaning – sometimes to the complete opposite of the original meaning … you might be Fox News.
  • If you allow your hosts and contributors to use your airwaves to raise money for political organizations … you might be Fox News.
  • If your executives position your network as the “opposition” to (or defenders of) the administration … you might be Fox News.
  • If you repeatedly organize, promote and encourage political protests … you might be Fox News.
  • If you pass off the research and talking points (and typos) of a political party as your own reporting … you might be Fox News.
  • If you declare “Victory!” when legislation is defeated (or passed) … you might be Fox News.
  • If you advance baseless conspiracy theories … you might be Fox News.

Now we just have to get the Campbell Browns of the world to pay attention and recognize reality.

Fox News’ Major Garrett Really Doesn’t Understand Email

At yesterday’s White House press briefing, Major Garrett of Fox News embarrassed himself by demonstrating his utter lack of understanding of the Internet and email. Today he is escalating his campaign to make a total ass of himself, and he is doing a magnificent job of it.

Garrett appeared on Fox News today to announce that he is pursuing White House press secretary Robert Gibbs to find out how emails, allegedly sent from the White House, were received by people who never requested them. He has even filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get to the bottom of this raging controversy. There are some rather simple and entirely innocent answers to this mystery, but Garrett can’t be bothered to investigate them. On his blog today he admitted to journalistic negligence that would make a cub reporter cringe.

“…in every instance so far, e-mailers insist the e-mail(s) they received from the White House was/were not forwarded. They are positive the e-mails arrived directly from the White House.”

“Fox cannot independently verify all of these accounts. Fox can only represent what hundreds of e-mailers have represented to me or to the network.”

So Garrett is relying on the accounts of the people who contacted him who said they were “positive” the emails came directly from the White House, but he can’t verify a single one. He is satisfied that these people whom he has never met, never questioned, never vetted, are so reliable that he is under no obligation to confirm their assertions. He produces two examples of aggrieved email recipients, one of whom complains, not of an email, but a pop-up ad containing an email from the White House. Of course, a pop-up ad cannot contain an email. It can contain ad, but Garrett didn’t verify this either and, frankly, I’m skeptical.

Click here to enlarge.
These are the people on whose “positive” assertions he was relying when filing his FOIA request. But Garrett is missing an even bigger piece of this puzzle. Apparently he never bothered to look at his very own Fox News blog on which there is a “SHARE” feature that permits anyone to send an email from that site to any other email address. And – surprise – has the very same feature. (see image at left)

I don’t know if Garrett is really this clueless about the Internet or if he is deliberately manufacturing a remarkably lame scandal. But before he gets himself in too deep, he may want to get former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens to explain this series of tubes to him.

For a network/party that had no problem with the Bush administration actually monitoring and reading their emails, they are sure making a big stink out of something as innocent as a contact list from which they can unsubscribe with a click.

Update: I’m curious if Garrett’s FOIA request would violate the privacy policy of the White House web site. I know that I wouldn’t want my email, or other info that I gave to, turned over to Fox News.

Update II: Fox News received a response from the White House regarding the mysterious emails:

“The White House email list is made up of email addresses obtained solely through the White House website. The White House doesn’t purchase, upload or merge from any other list, again, all emails come from the White House website as we have no interest in emailing anyone who does not want to receive an email. If an individual received the email because someone else or a group signed them up or forwarded the email, we hope they were not too inconvenienced. Further, we suggest that they unsubscribe from the list by clicking the link at the bottom of the email or tell whomever forwarded it to them not to forward such information anymore. We are implementing measures to make subscribing to emails clearer, including preventing advocacy organizations from signing people up to our lists without their permission when they deliver petition signatures and other messages on individual’s behalf.”

As it turns out, it was third-party organizations who entered the email addresses into the White House system, not some grand conspiracy by Obama and ACORN and Bill Ayres and the Kenyan Consulate. Who knew? Well, everyone but Major Garrett and the fraternity of Foxpods.

Robert Gibbs Nails Major Garrett Of Fox News

Today’s White House press briefing contained a bit of dramedy that should serve as a model for how to treat the pseudo-journalists from Fox News.

Fox’s Major Garrett was concerned about people who claim that they have received emails from presidential advisor David Axelrod despite never having signed up for any communications from the White House. Garret prefaced his question by conflating the communications activities of the White House with those of Organizing for America or other campaign operations.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs responded that the White House does not coordinate with outside political groups. Garret persisted in inquiring as to why people who have never requested these emails should be receiving them. Gibbs told him that he could not speculate as to the source of the emails and that he would be happy to check to see if the recipients were on the White House list. Here is where Garrett went off the rails. In a fit of disbelief he pressed Gibbs:

Garrett: “I need to give you these peoples’ email so you can check them on a list?”

Garrett was clearly implying that this was some sort of scam to harvest more names for White House propaganda. Gibbs responded that he couldn’t possibly know if these people received email from the White House if he didn’t know who to look for on their list. Indeed, how could Gibbs know the origin of the emails without seeing the email? These emails could very well have been received originally by people who did sign up for them and then forwarded them to their friends and family. The secondary recipients may be the people who contacted Garrett. How could Gibbs know?

Garrett somehow takes this as a personal affront and insists that he has received emails with this complaint. He implies that Gibbs is calling him a liar. Of course Gibbs never disputed that Garret received complaints, it’s just that he still has no idea where the emails came from and is only trying explain to this to Garrett (who, by the way, also has no idea where the emails came from).

Undaunted, Garrett continues to pester Gibbs even though he cannot provide any additional substance. And he seems not to have even the most rudimentary understanding of email and how it can be forwarded. So when Garret winds up for his next pitch, Gibbs lets him have it:

Gibbs: Let me go someplace else that might be constructive.

That’s telling him. And that response would work exceedingly well for ANY encounter with Fox News. During much of this exchange, Garrett had a look of utter surprise on his face. He seemed to be shocked that Gibbs was not clairvoyant. And he also seemed to be dismayed at what he perceived as a dismissive tone from Gibbs. But anyone listening to this dialogue would agree that Gibbs would be justified in being dismissive.

Garrett, like the rest of the Fox News cabal, is overtly partisan. Most people believe that the obvious right-wing bias at Fox is limited to the primetime shouters like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and daytime’s Glenn Beck. But Garrett is the author of “The Enduring Revolution: The Inside Story of the Republican Ascendancy and Why It Will Continue.” That book was published in 2005. Its obvious partisanship is matched only by how monumentally wrong is its premise.

Look for Garrett to file a report that disparages Gibbs and accuses him of both avoiding the question and snubbing the questioner. Garrett’s pals at Fox News will probably also jump on this as an opportunity to whack the White House. But I would advise the President, and anyone contemplating an encounter with Fox News, to heed the advice of Robert Gibbs and “go someplace else that might be constructive.”

Update: For reference, the Axelrod email actually requests that it be forwarded:

“So let’s start a chain email of our own. At the end of my email, you’ll find a lot of information about health insurance reform, distilled into 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8 common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now.”

“Right now, someone you know probably has a question about reform that could be answered by what’s below. So what are you waiting for? Forward this email.”

The subject line for the email is: “Something worth forwarding.”

Follow up report posted 8/14/09: Garrett was on Fox News this morning to prove that he still doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand that anyone can forward emails to anyone else. People can also go online and enter someone else’s email address into an email request form. Many sites, including the White House and Fox News (click to view), have a “share this” feature where people put in email addresses of their friends and family. Garrett needs to get former Sen. Ted Stevens to explain the series of tubes to him.

Bill O’Reilly’s Journalistic Standards Revealed – Again

Bill O’Reilly has indeed proven again and again that he has no journalistic standards. It is becoming somewhat tedious having to point this out when it occurs with such frequency, but this latest example just cries out for attention. I’m going to let O’Reilly tell the story himself…

Sources tell ‘The Factor’ that there is a federal investigation underway to find out if any American company sold components for roadside bombs to nefarious people. In May of 2008, and again in October ’08, coalition forces discovered unexploded roadside bombs in Iraq and handed them over to the FBI bureau in Baghdad. The FBI discovered that radio frequency modules inside the bombs were part of a shipment made by a U.S. company to Corezing International, a business in Singapore with direct ties to Iran.”

Oh my. That’s sounds frightening. Do go on…

“According to authorities, these modules are still being used today to kill Americans. The FBI will not comment, and ‘The Factor’ believes the investigation may be classified, because information is very hard to come by.”

So I assume that “The Factor” dove in and conducted a thorough investigation to get the “hard to come by” information, carefully documenting the exploits of a corrupt and dangerous program that is threatening American soldiers and America’s interests…

“‘The Factor’ has been told, but cannot confirm, that the General Electric corporation is under suspicion in the case.”

Ummm…..If you’ve been told something that you can’t confirm, why are you reporting it? You know, I’ve been told that Bill O’Reilly fixes breakfast in bed for Osama Bin Laden every Sunday morning before going to Mosque together. I can’t confirm it, but…..

“To be clear, ‘The Factor’ is not accusing anyone of anything. We are just reporting what we believe to be true.”

You aren’t accusing anyone of anything? Unless I’m mistaken, you just accused General Electric of arming America’s enemies and killing American troops. You made the accusation despite not being able to confirm it. And “reporting what we believe to be true” isn’t reporting at all, it’s gossip. So your assertion that you aren’t making an accusation is contradicted in the very same sentence by your admission to being a gossip monger (see Antilogical Reasoning).

Needless to say, O’Reilly got it all wrong. GE responded calling O’Reilly’s allegations “irresponsible and maliciously false” GE’s spokesman, Gary Sheffer, said that GE doesn’t do business with Corezing, and they don’t even make the radio frequency modules to which O’Reilly referred. Sheffer continued…

“We usually do not respond to the misleading and inaccurate claims made on this program because very few people take them seriously, but tonight’s report took this smear campaign to a new low.”

It is a pretty good general policy to regard O’Reilly as someone who is “misleading and inaccurate” and whom few take seriously. Although O’Reilly takes himself seriously enough to make up for all of those who know that he’s a joke. In response to remarks by Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, O’Reilly imagines that he is now at war with the White House. And, once again, he cites his ratings as evidence that Fox News will prevail in such a war.

First of all, there is no correlation between TV ratings and public opinion. This has been proven repeatedly. Secondly, when will O’Reilly and his comrades at Fox get it through their heads that being a top rated cable network is not an endorsement of their journalistic credibility. The National Enquirer has twice the circulation of the nation’s top daily newspaper (USA Today). By O’Reilly’s reasoning, the Enquirer is the the best newspaper in the country.

Finally, the notion that O’Reilly could seriously address the question of whether Fox News and the White House are at war is the best evidence that they are a disreputable enterprise whose obvious biases should disqualify them from being granted press credentials. The truth is that Fox News has more in common with the National Enquirer than a vast community of gullible readers/viewers. It is only a matter of time before Fox broadcasts headlines directly from the Enquirer. In fact, they may already be doing so. Stories about the President being a secret Muslim born in Kenya, and a health care plan that implements “death panels” for the purpose of euthanizing your grandma, could have come right out of the same issue of the Enquirer announcing the capture of Bigfoot by intergalactic (illegal) aliens.

Rush Limbaugh’s Ego Is Fatter Than He Is

President Barack Obama reiterated today that he is does not support the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. He said so previously, during the campaign, and has been consistent in this regard. That hasn’t stopped the hysterical ranting of rightist fear mongers who seek to use the issue to stir panic amongst the peasants, and to shake them down for contributions.

There are even reports of clandestine meetings between mysterious plotters in Congress and the FCC. The purpose of these cabals is to impose the evil specter of fairness on America. Never mind that the alleged FCC and congressional participants flatly denied that any such meetings took place – and, of course, that the President wouldn’t sanction it anyway.

It is, however, no longer sufficient for one to unequivocally state opposition to the Doctrine. The anti-Fairness fanatics now insist that such proclamations are simply not to be believed. The plotters are purposefully prevaricating to permit them to proceed with their plot. What’s more, they contend, without any evidence, that the threat now extends to cable TV and the Internet, mediums for which the Doctrine never applied. None of these accusations are supported by facts – or reality – they are just regurgitated repeatedly by right-wing conspiracy theorists.

At the top of that heap is Rush Limbaugh. On his radio program today, he rambled through all of the usual delusional blather about the Fairness Doctrine, but strayed into territory even further from sanity. He now says that ACORN is “gearing up to enforce the same type of restrictions on broadcasting that the Fairness Doctrine would require.” He doesn’t bother to explain when ACORN got into the media business. I guess they are just a proxy for anything these braying asses feel like wailing on. After falsely accusing ACORN of voter fraud, and blaming them for the mortgage meltdown, and asserting that they are behind the return of the Fairness Doctrine, I expect the next startling revelation will be their membership in Al Qaeda (A-Qaorn?).

But Limbaugh is not off the crazy train yet. In a grand feat of self-obsessed paranoia, Limbaugh imagines that his thoughts on the Fairness Doctrine are being stolen:

“The Wall Street Journal, two days ago, asked me for an op-ed on this. I submitted the op-ed this morning. It is an open letter to President Obama asking for clarity and definitive answer on — on censorship of the media. Now, I’m wondering. I am just wondering if somebody along the line did not leak my op-ed and the White House heard of it coming and they want to preempt its publication.”

That’s the Wall Street Journal – Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda rag – that Limbaugh is accusing of sabotaging his op-ed.

“And outta nowhere, out of nowhere, on Fox, some spokesman says Obama’s not even considering it? Why now? I mean that didn’t come up at the housing meeting today. It didn’t come up in Denver yesterday. It hasn’t come up on Air Force One. Where did it come up from? I didn’t tell anyone. I mean, I told, you know, a couple friends that I was going to write this thing. It’s fascinating stuff going on there. The intrigue, ladies and gentlemen.”

That’s Fox News – Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda cable net – that Limbaugh is accusing of invading his mind.

The only problem with this exhibition of ego gone wild is that the issue of the Fairness Doctrine has been coming up for weeks. It has been written about in numerous conservative publications and web sites (see Human Events and World Net Daily). Robert Gibbs, the President’s Press Secretary, has taken questions about it in White House briefings – TWICE. It seems to be the most talked about issue in the media other than the Stimulus Bill. Just ask Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and even Rush Limbaugh. Yet Limbaugh says that it hasn’t come up, and some unseen enemy with access to his dementia is leaking his brain droppings to Fox News and the White House. The dark forces are descending upon him even as he laments that he must refrain from speaking it aloud:

“I’m reluctant to talk about this, because I don’t want to sound like a victim. I don’t want to sound like, ‘They’re coming after me! They’re coming after me! (crying).’ But they’re going after any area there is dissent.”

For a guy who doesn’t want to sound like a victim, he sure seems to be focusing a lot on how the world is conspiring against him.

Did Sean Hannity Host A Terrorist Leader?

During a heated discussion with Barack Obama’s communication director, Robert Gibbs, Sean Hannity blurted out the names of controversial figures that he said have been guests on his show. He was defending himself from Gibbs’ assertion that basing an entire episode of his Hannity’s America on the commentary of noted anti-Semite Andy Martin could tag Hannity as an anti-Semite himself. Gibbs was actually just attempting to demonstrate that such guilt by association is not a valid strategy for debate.

One of the names Hannity listed in his defense was Khalid Mohammad. Was this the same Mohammad that was Osama Bin Laden’s propaganda chief? He is presently a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay and is considered one of the highest profile Al Qaeda leaders yet captured. The 9/11 Commission described him as “the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks,” and he has reportedly confessed that he had personally decapitated the American journalist, Daniel Pearl.

Hannity may have been referring to another Khalid Mohammad who was the national spokesman for Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam (NOI). He is hardly a less controversial character. This Mohammad referred to Jews as bloodsuckers and was dismissed from the NOI for being too radical (for the NOI?). In February 1994, Congress issued a denunciation of Muhammad, condemning his speech as “outrageous hatemongering of the most vicious and vile kind.” He died in 2001 of a brain aneurysm, so if Hannity had him on his show it was at least seven years ago.

It would be interesting to find out to whom Hannity was referring. But either way Hannity admits that he pals around with some unsavory folks. He surely has no business criticizing Barack Obama.