Government Sanctioned Mobs: Is Fox News Bigot Talking About Cops Or Protesters?

Todd Starnes has a unique role at Fox News as the protector of the heritage of white Christians. Most of his “dispatches” are about some imagined discrimination against this powerless majority. However, they are also mostly bogus fantasies that are later debunked by real journalists. In one case, Starnes hyped a fake story that was planted by the publisher of his new book.

Fox News Todd Starnes

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In his latest harangue, Starnes is aghast that President Obama didn’t clear his busy schedule to visit the two injured police officers in Ferguson, Missouri. His brief sermonette titled “Gov’t-Sanctioned Mobs Lay Siege to Ferguson While Obama Jets Off to Hollywood,” is crammed with viciousness and vituperative insults. The best way to demonstrate the idiocy and ignorance of this screed is to let it speak for itself. So here is every word of it with commentary:

Starnes: Whether they admit it or not, the protesters in Ferguson, Missouri got what they wanted this week. Two police officers ambushed.

This overtly racist opening line is evidence of a severe mental impairment. Starnes’ unsupported assertion that peaceful protesters wanted officers to get shot is the sort of bigotry that is generally seen in dispatches from the Ku Klux Klan.

Starnes: Blue Blood spilled on the streets, the latest casualties in a government-sanctioned war on law enforcement.

How dramatic. You have to wonder if Starnes is aware that “blue blood” usually refers to the upper-class elites that police are often shown to be protecting to the exclusion of every other citizen. And the “government-sanctioned” quip is utterly delusional. He doesn’t bother to identify the agency that is sanctioning this imaginary war on law enforcement.

Starnes: At some point you have to wonder when the police are just going say, “You know what folks? Just patrol your own blasted streets.”

Of course. Because that’s what all good police officers say who have encountered the risks associated with their jobs. What Starnes fails to grasp is that cops have been targets of criminal types since the beginning of policing. It’s a good thing that most officers have more dedication and integrity than cowards like Starnes.

Starnes: For months now, the White House has used Ferguson to advance a false narrative about racism in America. “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” — a lie. A bald-faced lie.

Actually, the White House has never uttered the words “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” much less advanced any narrative associated with it. Starnes is apparently unaware that it was the Obama Justice Department that found insufficient evidence to press charges against officer Darrel Wilson. But Starnes is equally unaware that the narrative of racism in America is not “false.” That fact was also in the Justice Department’s report, along with documented proof.

Starnes: Instead jetting off to Ferguson on Air Force One to console the officers and deliver a pro-law enforcement speech, President Obama flew right over Ferguson on his way to Hollywood, where he made a case for moral equivalency on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Actually, Obama made a case for the rule of law and respect for law enforcement when he said that “there was no excuse for criminal acts.” He called for the arrest of the perpetrators and the marginalization of “people who resort to violence.” And by doing it with Jimmy Kimmel he reached a much larger audience with that message.

Starnes: He also tweeted: “Violence against police is unacceptable. Our prayers are with the officers in MO. Path to justice is one all of us must travel together. – bo” With all due respect, Mr. President – that’s a bunch of BS.

This is a perfect example of how Obama cannot win with blockhead partisans like Starnes. Even when he makes exactly the sort of statement that is appropriate for the circumstances, they will simply dismiss it and resume insulting him.

Starnes: There’s a war on cops – government-sanctioned mobs out to satisfy their bloodlust. And that’s all you’ve got? A hundred forty characters and a late-night punchline?

First of all, that aint all he’s got, it’s just all you heard. Starnes conveniently filters out anything that doesn’t fit his hateful biases. Secondly, Starnes should be more careful with his rhetoric. Parsing his closing sentence would suggest that he is defining cops as “government-sanctioned mobs.” Ironically, that’s just how some people in minority communities see them when they are discriminated against and mistreated as numerous studies have shown occurs with unfortunate frequency.

The saddest part of this is that it is just another chapter in the ongoing parade of bigoted commentaries from Fox News and other rightist media. They have an obsession with castigating minorities, denying racism, and lecturing the victims of their hate as to how they should respond when mistreated (aka “whitesplaining”). And by pretending that problems don’t exist, and lying to their audience, Fox News et al are only making the problems worse.

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American Sniping II: The Hypocritical Right-Wing Attack On Jesus

Last week News Corpse published an article exposing the conservative guardians of virtue as hypocrites for their surreal denunciation of Hollywood as contemptuous of the film American Sniper. What makes their criticism absurd is that the movie was produced and distributed by Warner Bros., a big Hollywood film studio, and all of its major creative participants are familiar Hollywood figures. How conservatives can bash Hollywood for not appreciating this film is puzzling since Hollywood appreciated it enough to award it six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The absurdity is continuing this week as a Fox News host doubles down on the Tinseltown bashing (video below), but escalates the animus by adding a bit of deranged sermonizing into the mix.

Todd Starnes

Todd Starnes is Fox’s resident pearl-clutcher every time he imagines that some slight has been directed at Christianity, which he is convinced is the biggest victim of oppression since the Third Reich. His most recent remarks on American Sniper were incited by Michael Moore’s tweet:

“What Would Jesus Do? Oh, I know what he’d do — hide on top of a roof and shoot people in the back!”

Moore has become a target of the right for expressing his antiwar views (which he shares with Clint Eastwood), despite his long support for veterans. In response to Moore’s tweet Starnes leveled a vile and poorly thought out assault on Moore that included this mangling of Christian doctrine:

“I suspect Jesus would tell that God-fearing, red-blooded American sniper, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant for dispatching another Godless jihadist to the lake of fire.'”

That is a sentiment that ought to make every good Christian wretch. In effect, Starnes is preaching that in order to win the praise of Jesus, one must enlist in battle and cause the deaths of other human beings. Since Jesus himself preached that “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God,” it’s hard to find any theological justification for Starnes’ war mongering. The example set by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and at Golgotha demonstrate just how far removed from the gospel Starnes is.

But let’s be clear, none of this is about God or faith. It is a blatantly political attempt to glorify war and celebrate a phony patriotism that exalts the militarization of society and the promotion of national (and religious and racial) supremacy. The purpose is to advance the agenda of the Republican Party and its Patriopathic obsessions. It’s an agenda of flag-waving, scripture-spewing, blood-lusting, Tea Partying, bigots who favor small government when it comes to meeting the basic needs of its citizens, but massively large government when it comes to imposing religious values and supporting wealthy corporatists, particularly in the defense industries.

Just as the wingnut critics knew nothing about Hollywood when throwing their puerile insults at an entire American industry (including thousands who voted to pay tribute to American Sniper), the same people know nothing about the religion they pretend to embrace. It’s as if they worship an image that might have been manufactured for a Hollywood horror film, rather than the teachings of a church that venerates peace and forgiveness.

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[Update:] A Facebook commenter, Faith Equality, pointed out this video of Starnes completely contradicting himself on Fox’s Hannity show saying “Jesus wants to be your Lord and Savior, He doesn’t want to blow you to Kingdom Come.”

Amid Reckless Talk Of Impeachment, Fox News Questions President Obama’s Loyalty

It’s taken four years, but the least productive Congress in recent history has finally found something they consider worthy of their time: Impeachment. The Tea Party Republicans running the House of Representatives have managed to avoid or deliberately obstruct everything from tax reform to job creation to immigration to climate change, and much more. In place of doing their actual jobs they have repeatedly attempted to cripple or repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare), deny women access to reproductive care, legislate their conservative flavor of religion, and conduct endless and unwarranted investigations into a slew of phony scandals.

The GOP has had help in their avoidance of their responsibilities. Fox News has been right beside them in diverting attention and tax dollars from useful services to wasteful partisan exercises. Specifically with regard to the Impeachment issue, it was a Fox News regular, Sarah Palin, who fired the most recent volleys.

Now Fox is setting its sights on bolstering the impeachment argument by orchestrating a campaign of propaganda to characterize President Obama as disloyal to the country. And they aren’t mincing words about it.

Fox News

On their lie-riddled community website, Fox Nation, there are currently two articles that raise questions with regard to Obama’s patriotism. They overtly suggest that the President may be rooting for our enemies, including violent terrorists.

One article, with a headline that asserts that “Obama Needs to Choose Sides – Israel or Hamas,” blatantly accuses Obama of potentially being on the side of Hamas terrorists. It’s author, Todd Starnes of Fox News, responds to the FAA’s temporary ban on flights to Israel (which has already been lifted) by accusing Obama of implementing an economic boycott against Israel. Starnes says that “There have been no such flight bans over other war-torn nations. So why Israel?” However, in addition to defaming Obama, Starnes is demonstrating his ignorance of world affairs because there are other flight bans, including two hot spots in the news recently, Ukraine and Mali.

The second article’s headline asks “Whose Side is the President Really on?” Again, the Fox Nationalists are implying that Obama is not on the side of the nation he leads. This article concerns the immigration crisis on the southwestern border, and its right-wing author, Ed Rogers of the Washington Post, writes that “It is not hard to believe the president has a bias on the side of the foreigners.” Although it may not be hard for Rogers to believe it, he offers little of substance to support his theory. It appears to based solely on the administrations efforts to resolve the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

Ironically, it is over the immigration issue that the GOP Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has chosen to respond to a White House comment regarding the GOP impeachment fixation. Senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer is properly concerned that the extremists in the GOP are serious about trying to remove Obama from office. He told reporters that Republican talk of impeachment should not be summarily dismissed:

“I think a lot of people in this town laugh that off. I would not discount that possibility. I think that Speaker Boehner, by going down this path of this lawsuit, has opened the door to Republicans possibly considering impeachment at some point in the future.”

Boehner’s office responded in a painfully twisted manner that criticized Pfeiffer for reacting to the impeachment talk that Republicans began. Boehner’s spokesman lamented that the White House “is focused on political games, rather than helping these kids and securing the border.” That comment begs the question: Has Boehner lost touch with reality? It is the administration that is trying to resolve the border crisis but, as usual, Boehner’s comrades in Congress are refusing to cooperate on passing the necessary legislation.

What’s more, it is Boehner himself who is playing political games with his ludicrous lawsuit against the President. Remember, this is a lawsuit by a party with a long history of opposing frivolous lawsuits. They are also known for opposing regulations that burden small business. So, of course, they are now filing a frivolous suit against the President for easing regulations on small business. And then Boehner complains about political game-playing.

Pfeiffer, the White House adviser, is quite correct to worry about impeachment. The Republican Party is so thoroughly demented and/or corrupt that they may just be crazy enough to try it. For that reason, it is critical that Democrats wake up and make a commitment to vote in November. Democrats have been notoriously absent during midterm elections. But this time they must recognize that the President is on the ballot just as surely as he was in 2008 and 2012.

If anyone should be impeached it’s Fox News. They spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, disparaging America and its elected representatives. They tear the country down and call it weak and its people stupid. They practically invite enemies to attack us. What’s more disloyal than that? And if their disinformation helps Republicans seize control of the Senate it will empower the House GOP to draft Articles of Impeachment. And while they will still undoubtedly fail in the end, they will detour the nation from doing any of the important work that needs to be done to revive the nation’s economy, create jobs, and restore our reputation throughout the world.

Fox News Celebrates Supreme Court Decision Upholding Christian Theocracy

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America includes a stipulation that the government “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The legal interpretation of that clause, with more than 200 years of precedence, holds that proceedings of official bodies of government may not engage in sectarian religious activity as it puts the imprimatur of the state on the particular spiritual practice.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court just ruled in favor of the town council of Greece, N.Y, to offer prayers in the opening of their council meetings. The Court explicitly stated that they regarded these prayers as permissible even though they were predominantly Christian. The justification for the ruling was based on the absurd notion that the prayers were merely ceremonial and not religious.

“As a practice that has long endured, legislative prayer has become part of our heritage and tradition, part of our expressive idiom, similar to the Pledge of Allegiance.”

And joining the celebration of what is ostensibly ceremonial is Fox News, who cheered the decision with a joyful declaration that it was “A Win For Religion.”

Fox News Theocracy

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The language that Fox News used to report this decision demonstrates that it was indeed a matter of faith. After all, they didn’t declare it to be a “A Win For Ceremony.” The ceremonial argument is a thinly veiled excuse to permit proselytizing for Christianity. What’s more, the argument that reciting exclusively Christian prayers does not violate the establishment clause of the Constitution is a gross misunderstanding of the law. Such activity blatantly favors a specific belief and excludes all others with differing beliefs. To illustrate the point, just imagine the reaction if the town council decided to offer a Muslim prayer at the opening of the session. It would create a deafening outcry from Christians insisting they were offended by the invocation.

For evidence of that, take the example of a recent event in Colorado. The students at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins were led by another student in the Pledge of Allegiance with the words “under God” replaced by the words “under Allah.” This was met with harsh criticism by Christianists in the community and the media, including Fox’s own resident religious bigot, Todd Starnes.

First of all it should be noted that Allah is the Arabic (not Islamic) word for God, and both Muslims and Arab Christians use it. Secondly, why would it be offensive for Muslim-Americans to pledge their allegiance to the American flag? Isn’t that something we should encourage, or are we only open to recognizing Muslims who hate us? More to the point, the criticism reveals the true intent of the religious extremists who aspire to force their religion onto everyone else through the use of official forums in government and schools. That is precisely the behavior that the conservatives on the Supreme Court sanctioned today.

For Fox News to report this decision with a headline that describes it as “A Win For Religion” is further evidence that they regard the issue as one of faith, despite their denials and those of the Court. Their own words betray their not-very-hidden motives.

Stupid And Dangerous: Fox News Proposes Arming Ukrainian Jews

Fox News has given out some monumentally idiotic advice over the years. They advised people not to fill out their census forms (which is a violation of law). They counseled young people not to sign up for health insurance (which could lead to medical and financial disaster). They have beat the drums for every potential war that has come along (Syria, Iran, North Korea, etc.) But now they are making a suggestion that far surpasses their prior imbecility by light years.

Fox News Todd Starnes

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Todd Starnes is the resident Fox News theocracy advocate. His reports are almost entirely concerned with what he regards as the oppression of Christians in America and elsewhere. He is a religious zealot who favors replacing science with Christian dogma in schools, business, and government.

His latest screed is titled “Maybe It’s Time to Arm Ukrainian Jews.” Starnes is responding to reports that Jews in Ukraine were allegedly asked to identify themselves and to register as Jews. If true, that is indeed a repugnant development that recalls the practices of the Nazis and other anti-Semitic regimes. Certainly such a move should be condemned and resisted. However, Starnes is proposing a response that can only make things far worse:

“In the spirit of diplomacy, it’s time for our Commander-in-Chief to grow a backbone.

“And if the reports are true — at the very least – we should send every Ukrainian Jew — man, woman and child – a gun and a box of ammo.

“The last thing the country wants is to be dragged into another war. But we cannot – and must not — stand by and allow our Jewish friends to be targeted.”

What exactly does Starnes think this would accomplish? Does he think that the Jewish minority in Ukraine would be able to defeat the forces of the majority? Does he think that they could also fight off the Russian army? Is he so desperately stupid that he believes putting guns in the hands of a few people would result in their more numerous and better armed oppressors surrendering to them? Starnes complains that President Obama is lacking a backbone, but there is surely no evidence of one in Starnes. His vision of Jewish children parading around with “a gun and a box of ammo” would be comical if not for the tragic consequences. And his claim to not wanting to be dragged into another war is transparently disingenuous. That’s precisely what he wants, and it’s what his proposal would achieve.

The Jewish people of Ukraine do deserve protection from bigots in their nation and their government. But the the method of providing that protection is not to pit them against a mightier force that would slaughter them. The proper response is to pressure the Ukraine dissidents, and their Russian benefactors, to back off with a threat of [international diplomatic] force greater than that which they can muster. You do not send ten people into a frenzied crowd of ten thousand and wish them luck.

Starnes and his bosses at Fox News would like nothing better than to instigate a massacre about which they can then fulminate and use to advance their lust for war. And if some Jews have to get killed in the process, that’s just too bad. If Starnes is so concerned about the welfare of Ukrainian Jews, then he should hop on a plane to Crimea and put himself in the line of fire, rather than suggesting that others risk their lives from the comfort of his American studio.

The only positive part of this disgusting story is that Starnes is a well known douchebag whose advice is not likely to be taken up by anyone with any authority. He is just another in a long line of conservative chickenhawks who are only too happy to put other people’s lives in danger. If he ever did go to Ukraine, or any other hot spot, you know exactly where you can find him: Cowering under the nearest rock with soggy pants and whimpering for someone to rescue his sorry ass.

Fox News Reporter And His Publisher In Bogus Book Marketing Scheme?

When it comes to making up fake stories in order to advance a partisan, right-wing agenda, nobody does it quite as well or as often as Fox News. Generally it involves deceptively spinning some event or purposefully mischaracterizing the comments of a Democrat. But frequently they will manufacture a phony story from scratch, and that may be what happened with this one by Fox News reporter Todd Starnes.

Fox News - Todd Starnes

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Starnes is perhaps the Fox figure who is most fixated on the perceived persecution of Christians in America. He has produced story after story on the same subject with alleged examples of innocent believers being harassed, oppressed, or maligned. However, many of his yarns turn out to be fables that are proven to be false when examined in full.

This week Starnes reported on a five year old girl whose father claims she was prohibited from praying in her school’s cafeteria. No one else can corroborate the charge. The school administration investigated and found no evidence to back up the claim. And there is no policy at the school that would prohibit a student from praying at lunchtime. This how Starnes began his story:

“A Florida school district is giving teachers a refresher course on religious liberty after the parents of a five-year-old kindergarten student said a teacher told their daughter that she was not allowed to pray before eating her lunch time meal.

“Marcos Perez, of Oviedo, Fla., said the incident occurred earlier this month in the lunch room at Carillon Elementary School.”

However, Starnes left out a pretty significant bit of information regarding his personal relationship with the family in the story. The Orlando Sentinel reported that Marcos Perez, the father of the girl, is also the Vice-President of Sales for Charisma House, a Christian book publisher that just happens to be publishing Starnes’ own book about – guess what – discrimination against Christians: “God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values.” That is a fact that Starnes failed to disclose in his story. [Note: After this association was revealed by the Sentinel, Starnes edited his column to add his relationship with the girl’s father] It can hardly be seen as an inadvertent omission when Starnes’ story includes quotes from a man he surely knows without revealing that fact.

So to recap: Starnes has a book coming out soon that describes alleged episodes of discrimination against hapless Christians. A Christian schoolgirl is allegedly forbidden from praying in a story that could have come right out of Starnes’ book. And the beleaguered child is the daughter of the man responsible for selling the book and coming up with attention-getting marketing schemes. But I’m sure it is all just a harmless coincidence.

Indian-American Miss America Brings Out The Racist In Fox News Host

Last night’s crowning of the 2014 Miss America produced a milestone for the event with the selection of Nina Davuluri, the first Indian-American winner. Unfortunately, it also produced a flurry of ugly comments in social media that attacked Davuluri, a native of Syracuse, New York, as un-American, a terrorist, and as “Miss Al Qaeda.”

Fox News
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Not surprisingly, the racist culture at Fox News was prominent among the critics of Davuluri’s victory. Fox’s Todd Starnes, a notoriously repugnant religious bigot and homophobe, took to his Twitter and Facebook accounts to bash a young woman who had just realized her American Dream.

Starnes on Twitter: The liberal Miss America judges won’t say this – but Miss Kansas lost because she actually represented American values.

Starnes on Facebook: Americans were backing Miss Kansas — but the liberal Miss America judges were not interested in a gun-toting, deer-hunting, military veteran.

The nauseating bias expressed by Starnes is typical of his lack of decency. It is also typical that he bases his hatred on idiotic and unsupported assertions. For instance, he has no idea why the judges did not choose his preferred contestant, Miss Kansas. Consequently, he makes up reasons from his own deranged prejudices and implies that Davuluri does not represent American values. If Starnes’ version of American values include his cretinous loathing of America’s diversity, then here’s hoping that no one embraces the values that Starnes represents.

Starnes also states that “Americans were backing Miss Kansas.” He must have pulled that statistic from the same body part he uses for analytical thought – his humongous posterior. What’s more, Starnes’ accusation that the judges were all liberals was another invention sprouted from his vile ignorance of reality.

Starnes has a history of repulsive statements, yet Fox continues to employ him. It is an indication of their approval of such bigotry. It is a part of their mission as a propaganda outlet that abhors the real America that comprises people of all races, nationalities, and creeds. It’s the Fox way.

Fox News Mystery: Conspiratorial Article On Boston Bombing ‘Suspect’ Disappears [Update]

In a peculiar and suspicious chain of events, Fox News ran an article by commentator Todd Starnes with the provocative headline “Saudi National Questioned in Boston was on Terror Watch List.” But the article was not there for long, and has since been deleted from other conservative news sites as well.

There was no evidence in the article affirming the title’s allegation other than Starnes’ assertion that “sources have told me.” Starnes went on to say that his sources alleged that “Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi had been deemed inadmissible” for entry into the United States because he was engaged, or likely to become engaged, in terrorist activity. “Two additional sources,” Starnes said, “have confirmed to me that Ali Alharbi is set to be deported as early as this week.”

The article also notes that national security officials, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, have denied the reports and stated explicitly that Alharbi is not being deported, nor was anyone else with any connection to the Boston marathon bombings. All of the chatter in the right-wing media about this was definitively debunked days ago.

Despite the dismissals by Napolitano and others of these rumors, Starnes weaves a speculative tale of innuendo that he fails to back up with any substance. The missing article echoes the conspiracy theories emerging from the fringe outposts of Alex Jones’ InfoWars and Glenn Beck’s The Blaze. Beck’s recent foray into these wilds of reckless slander has been titillating his fans for several days with promises of jaw-dropping revelations that he literally described as the most important story in the history of the country. His pledge to unveil the sordid details Monday went conspicuously unfulfilled.

Glenn Beck

But here’s where the plot thickens. The delusional ravings of Jones and Beck might have been supported in some small measure by the article posted by Starnes. Mind you, Starnes did not have any better proof than they did that some untoward activity was taking place, but at least his column could have been cited as a rather useless and circular corroboration – and, in fact, Beck did just that. Which makes it all the more curious that Fox News made the column disappear. The link currently returns a “No Results Found” page. Making matters worse, Starnes also posted the article on the conservative Townhall web site, where it was also scrubbed. [Note: The Townhall article remains in Google’s cache]

What can explain this odd self-censorship by two separate, unaffiliated web sites? The articles simply vanished with no comment or correction. Was there a discovery that they were so far off base that they put the publishers in jeopardy of being sued for libel? If so, simply removing them would not be an effective defense without an apology for any harm done. It would more likely serve to prove that they had an awareness of the potential for harm and sought to cover up their actions.

Fox News

Another theory might be that Fox and Townhall are actually covert liberal agents who are in cahoots with Obama and the jihad movement and decided it would be better if they didn’t publicize these allegations. Plus they could sabotage Beck’s effort to reveal these harrowing truths and crush his credibility (if there were any left for crushing).

Alright, I know I shouldn’t be giving Beck any help in concocting his paranoid delusions. First of all, he’s better at it than I am. And secondly, it’s like giving a drug addict a fix. But what else might explain the behavior of Fox News, who ordinarily would leap at the opportunity to implicate Obama in some nefarious intrigue?

These missing articles create a mystery all their own, and it’s one that will likely never be solved because Fox is not forthcoming on matters related to their pseudo-journalistic endeavors. They rarely acknowledge errors in the best of circumstances, so we ought not to expect them to do so after having secretly excised a piece of dubious reporting. For all we are likely to ever know, these articles were just sucked into the black hole of Fox’s nightmare factory.

[Update 4/25/13] The articles referenced above are still missing and there have been no explanations or corrections offered. However, the “false flag” schemes they promote have been adopted by a GOP congresswoman from New Hampshire, Stella Tremblay, who said that “The Boston Marathon was a Black Ops ‘terrorist’ attack…by our own Government.”

Also, on Wednesday Beck interviewed a retired INS Special Agent on his webcast who disputed Beck’s account of the affair saying that “it doesn’t make sense.” Not surprisingly, Beck glossed over that portion of the discussion as if it hadn’t happened.

Gun Shmucks: Right-Wingers Joke About Knife Attacks In Texas

You would think that it’s bad enough that innocent people at Lone Star College near Houston were assaulted by a maniac with a knife, but the last thing they need is some right-wing jerk-holes exploiting the tragedy to make an idiotic political point about gun control.

Sadly, that’s exactly what happened yesterday as aforementioned jerk-holes like Michelle Malkin, Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, Glenn Beck flunkies, and others made light of the horror experienced by the victims of the attack. The common theme addressed in their juvenile attempts at humor was that Obama would propose some sort of “knife control” now that there had been a mass-stabbing at a school.

Malkin: Coming soon: Limits on length, serration & sharpness.

Starnes: Does Obama have Air Force One gassed up and ready to head to Houston to launch his “War on X-acto Knives”?

Beck Flunky: Will there be calls for stricter knife control following today’s horrific attack?

Alex Jones: Government, Protect us! Ban knives now!

The problem with their non-funny, non-logic (aside from the rank insensitivity) is that there is a glaringly obvious corollary to this story that they are incapable of comprehending.

Fox News

As tragic as it is to be a victim of a crime like this, there is some solace to be had by having survived. That’s a sentiment that is surely shared by friends and relatives. I’m pretty sure that every one of the people who were stabbed are grateful that they were not shot and killed. And the simple fact that there were no fatalities in Houston contrasts vividly with the deadly consequences of last Decembers shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

If anything, the results of this crime spree are an argument in favor of stricter regulations on guns. NRA apologists are fond of saying that criminals could simply use knives if they were unable to get guns. Well, as we’ve seen here, that would be step in the right direction if your objective is to save lives.

Unfortunately, the objective of the NRA, their bought and paid for legislators, and the dupes they have deceived, is to sell ever more guns and ammo. They work for the firearms manufacturers, not any rank and file constituency of citizens. And they are advocating a policy that guarantees more grief and suffering. It’s time to do something about it and, but for the efforts of the gun worshipers, we could pass sensible legislation that would make our society safer without imposing on anyone’s rights.

By the way, there already is knife control, as well as restrictions on many other dangerous weapons. It’s a pretty sorry situation when the American people overwhelmingly support legal solutions to the problem of gun violence and can’t get it, but silliness like “shoe control.” is imposed in all of our airports.


10 People Fox News Should Fire, But Haven’t

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Every media organization has had to, at one time or another, discipline staff who crossed an ethical line. If a reporter loses his or her cool and becomes offensive in the course of their work, they must be held accountable to some set of professional standards. Ideally the standards would be a set of objective criteria that focused on verifiable breaches of honesty or civility. A credible news organization must never tolerate a reporter lying or engaging in personal attacks. I repeat, a “credible” news organization…

Unfortunately, there is a disturbing lack of oversight in this regard. Often offenders are excused without consequence or, conversely, punishment is meted out to an innocent party. For example, NPR terminated their relationship with a couple of executives who were victims of false allegations in a video produced by James O’Keefe, the criminally convicted, right-wing activist best known for deceptively edited videos.

This past week presented a revealing lesson in contrast as to how different media enterprises deal differently with anchors and other editorial personnel who fail the test of principles that ought to govern all journalists.

CNN was put to the test this week when Roland Martin posted a Tweet that appeared to advocate violence against gays. Martin pointed out that it was not meant seriously and wasn’t even directed at gays, but at the sport of soccer. Nevertheless, CNN acted quickly to suspend Martin indefinitely.

By contrast, Fox News contributor Liz Trotta delivered a commentary on Sunday berating women in the military for complaining that they get raped too much (Trotta did not define what an “acceptable” amount of rape is). The news that triggered this revolting commentary was a Pentagon report that rape and sexual assault had increased 64%, a statistic that Trotta cavalierly dismissed. She further asserted that servicewomen should “expect” to be raped because they work closely with men. Fox News has had no comment on this matter despite fierce criticism from women’s groups and veterans offended by the assertion that male soldiers are innately animals and female soldiers should quietly accept assault as a part of military life.

These two examples illustrate the differences between a news enterprise that attempts to act responsibly and one that disregards such restraints in order to forge ahead with a sensationalistic approach and to pander to the scandal-lust of their viewers. CNN has faced this dilemma in the past by meting out punishments for ethical infractions to Lou Dobbs, Rick Sanchez, Octavia Nasr, Susan Roesgen, Peter Arnett, and Eason Jordan. MSNBC has done the same to Keith Olbermann, David Shuster, Mark Halperin, Markos Moulitsas, and Pat Buchanan. Some of these chastisements were warranted (Dobbs, Buchanan), and some were executions of petulant grudges (Markos), and CNN still inexplicably employs miscreants like Erick Erickson and Dana Loesch. So CNN and MSNBC should not necessarily be held up as models of morality. But at least there is some evidence of an internal criteria for ethical behavior of some sort.

Fox News, however, has yet to make any news staffer pay a price for professional indiscretions, despite the fact that things got so bad at Fox they had to distribute a memo asserting a “Zero Tolerance Policy” that warned of “letters to personnel files, suspensions, and other possible actions up to and including termination.” The memo was issued after numerous, embarrassing on-air blunders by Fox reporters and producers. But rather than undergoing discipline, Fox News bent over backwards to reward reporters who behaved badly. In fact, while other networks were firing such violators, Fox seems to be on a mission to recruit them. For instance: Juan Williams, Don Imus, Doug McKelway, and Lou Dobbs were all put on the Fox payroll after having been terminated for cause at other networks. Even Glenn Beck who, while no longer hosting his own program, appears regularly with Bill O’Reilly and others.

Fox maintains a clubby environment for recalcitrant reporters, and there remains a full stable of them on the air. Here is a selection of some of the more obviously repulsive people that Fox News should have fired for their absence of morality and professionalism, but to date have not even had their wrists slapped. And make no mistake, the job security enjoyed by these weasels is not due to carelessness on the part of Fox News. Controversy, hostility, and rabid right-wing advocacy are the hallmarks of Fox’s business model. It’s how they cultivate and reward the loyalty of their audience. What other explanation could justify this:

Todd Starnes: Unsurprisingly, Fox News has smeared the Occupy Movement from its inception. They have disparaged them as everything from unfocused to unclean to un-American. But it took Starnes, the host of Fox News & Commentary on Fox Radio, to equate them to mass murderers by asking, “What should be done with the domestic terrorists who are occupying our cities and college campuses?” By comparing Occupiers to the likes of Timothy McVeigh, Starnes is engaging in rhetorical terrorism and insulting hundreds of thousands of concerned Americans.

Cody Willard: This Fox Business reporter brazenly exposed his bias when he attended a Tea Party rally and feverishly barked at the camera this call to arms against the U.S. government, “Guys, when are we going to wake up and start fighting the fascism that seems to be permeating this country?”

Andrew Napolitano: The “Judge” is a notorious 9/11 Truther who believes that the attack on the World Trade Center towers was an inside job, orchestrated by agents of the United States government. That’s a position considered so crazy by Fox Newsers that it was instrumental in their campaign to get Van Jones fired from his post as a green jobs adviser to President Obama. But, in typical Foxian hypocrisy, it has no impact on the employment of Napolitano. [Note: The entire primetime schedule of the Fox Business Network, including Napolitano, Eric Bolling and David Asman, was recently canceled. But it was due to poor ratings, not content. And all remain active Fox News contributors.]

Bill Sammon: The Fox News Washington managing editor was recorded admitting to a friendly audience on a conservative cruise that he would go on air and “mischievously” cast Obama as a socialist even though he didn’t believe it himself. In other words, he lied to defame the President and rile up his gullible viewers. That would be cause for termination at most news networks, but probably earned Sammon a bonus at Fox.

Eric Bolling: Hoping to sustain Fox’s leadership in inappropriate Nazi references, Bolling accused President Obama of engaging in class warfare that was “forged in Marxist Germany.” And if that wasn’t asinine enough, he sided with Iran against the U.S. by accusing the American hikers who were held in an Iranian prison of being spies and said that Iran should have kept them.

Bill O’Reilly: Dr. George Tiller, a family physician in Kansas, was murdered by an anti-abortion extremist who may have been incited to violence by rhetoric like this from O’Reilly: “Now, we have bad news to report that Tiller the baby killer out in Kansas, acquitted. Acquitted today of murdering babies.” O’Reilly regards the acquittal of a doctor for performing legal medical services “bad news,” and the services themselves “murder.” But he never took any responsibility for fanning the flames of violent incivility that led to the actual murder of Dr. Tiller.

Col. Ralph Peters (Ret): In a rant that argued that the United States should fight back against our enemies with the same tactics they use against us, Peters turned the media into military targets: “Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media. And like Bolling, Peters also took the side of our foes by suggesting, without evidence, that a missing American soldier was a deserter and that “the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills,” presumably by killing him.

Michael Scheuer: This former CIA analyst was concerned that the American people were not sufficiently afraid of future terrorist attacks. He regards that absence of fear as dangerous complacency. But he has a solution: “The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States.”

Roger Ailes: The CEO of Fox News proves that a fish stinks from its head. In response to NPR’s firing of Juan Willimas for bigoted remarks about Muslims, Ailes let loose a tirade wherein he viciously attacked the NPR executives saying that… “They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism.”

Liz Trotta: Ending up where we began, this abhorrent attempt at comedy simply could not be left off of this list. What started out as a verbal stumble became a call for assassination when Trotta said, “Now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama, umm, Obama. Well, both if we could.”

It’s difficult to believe that anyone could retain a job in the media after making statements like those above. These were not mistakes or misunderstandings. They are not out of context. They were considered, deliberate expressions of opinion that represented the reporter’s views at the time. Yet all of these people are still employed and active at Fox News.

To be fair, there is an example of Fox News firing reporters who crossed a line that even Fox could not abide. Steve Wilson and Jane Akre investigated a story that detailed the health risks posed by the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a milk additive manufactured by chemical giant Monsanto. Fox objected to the story’s negative portrayal of a major advertiser and ordered the reporters to make modifications that they knew were false. When the reporters refused they were fired. In the subsequent litigation Fox argued in court that the network had a right to determine the content of their stories, and even to lie, and that employees who declined to comply could be terminated as insubordinate.

So while Fox News has no problem with their analysts advocating terrorism against Americans, they draw the line when it comes to suppressing their Constitutional right to lie. Fox has taken great care to set their priorities and to draw their ethical lines in sand that is always under the prevailing tide.

[Update] This week racist Pat Buchanan was sacked by MSNBC and radio schlock jocks John & Ken were suspended for calling Whitney Houston a “crack ho”. But Liz Trotta, Eric Bolling, et al are still happily working at Fox.