AlterNet.org: Mark Howard http://ww.alternet.org/authors/mark-howard en 6 Most Brazen Right-Wing Lies About Obamacare http://ww.alternet.org/media/6-most-brazen-right-wing-lies-about-obamacare <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The campaign to recast a program that makes health insurance accessible to millions of Americans as a plague of locusts has risen to fever pitch. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2013-10-23_at_10.53.25_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">Halloween is approaching and the hobgoblins of conservative media are already spinning nightmarish tales of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Actually, they have been doing it for quite some time, dating back to at least March 2010 when Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller published <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=1598" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">an article headlined</a> “IRS looking to hire thousands of armed tax agents to enforce healthcare laws.” Fox News reposted the article on its community web site and <a href="http://amzn.to/UPoI6a" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Fib Factory, Fox Nation</a> despite the fact that it was a complete fabrication and was <a href="http://www.factcheck.org/2010/03/irs-expansion/" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">debunked</a> by the Annenberg Center’s FactCheck.org</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">This year the campaign to recast a program that makes health insurance accessible to millions of Americans as a plague of locusts has risen to fever pitch. The Republican Party and conservative media has pulled out all the stops in a strategy aimed at scaring people from signing up with the hope that low enrollment will collapse the system. President Obama had the same concerns last month when he said…</p><blockquote style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><p>“What you’ve had is an unprecedented effort that you’ve seen ramp up in the past month or so that those who have opposed the idea of universal health care in the first place — and have fought this thing tooth and nail through Congress and through the courts — trying to scare and discourage people from getting a good deal.”</p></blockquote><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">These are not the hackneyed GOP talking points about death panels, job killers and government bureaucrats coming between patients and doctors. These are far more fanciful efforts that stretch the limits of credulity and appear to have more in common with satire than actual news reporting. But this is what it has come to as Obamacare has finally reached the consumer stage and conservatives are desperate to keep people from discovering its benefits.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">1) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=10701" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Fox News Warns That If You Sign Up For ObamaCare Hackers Will Steal Your Life Savings</a><br />On an episode of “The Real Story” on Fox News, host Gretchen Carlson introduced an ominous new strain of fear-mongering to demonize Obamacare. She interviewed John McAfee, the anti-virus software developer who is presently a fugitive from a murder investigation in Belize. He made a wild accusation that visitors to Healthcare.gov are going to be victimized by hackers who will steal their identities and/or drain their bank accounts.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">Neither Carlson nor McAfee actually provided any evidence of such a threat. In fact, when directly asked about it, McAfee diverts from the question and lays out a completely different threat that has nothing whatsoever to do with the Obamacare website. He alleges that nefarious individuals could set up their own unaffiliated websites in the hopes of luring naive people to take advantage of. Of course, that is a threat that exists for every website, and has since the Internet began. Visiting Healthcare.gov does not expose anyone to these phony sites as implied by the fear-mongers at Fox.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">2) <a href="http://www.wnd.com/2013/10/obama-crashing-health-care-site-on-purpose/" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">WorldNetDaily Reports “Obama ‘Crashing Health-Care Site On Purpose’”</a><br />This article asserts that the President is so afraid that insurance shoppers will learn that Obamacare is really more expensive than the old system that he deliberately caused the website to crash to keep people from seeing the rates. No one is defending the botched launch of the insurance exchanges. However, the notion that the technical glitches were intentionally caused by Obama is delusional.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">WND’s argument (supported by links to Rush Limbaugh) that rates will increase leaves out the subsidies and tax credits that are available for many applicants. With these adjustments, premiums for most people will be substantially lower. The administration would, therefore, be anxious for consumers to have access to that information and would not be putting obstacles in their path.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">3) <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/09/29/fact-check-ted-cruz-obamacare-health-care/2890995/" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Rand Paul: Take Obamacare Or Go To Jail</a><br />Tea Party darling Rand Paul has made innumerable false statements about virtually every policy that has emanated from the White House. But none are more surreal than his comment, “They say take [Obamacare] or we will put people in jail. People say we aren’t going to put anybody in jail. The heck they won’t. You will get fined first. If you don’t pay your fines, you will go to jail.”</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">That’s interesting coming from someone who has frequently complained that no one in Congress has read the Affordable Care Act. If he had read it himself he would have known that the law explicitly prohibits criminal consequences for non-payment of fines. It states “In the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure.” It rarely gets more clear than that, but the mission to frighten the public exceeds the motivation for truth on the part of GOP scare-meisters.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">4) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=10706" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Right-Wing Think Tank Mortified That Obamacare Website Links To Voter Registration Form</a><br />This is a particularly curious horror story as it seeks to raise an alarm over something that ought to be regarded as a civic duty. Nevertheless, the conservative MacIver Institute (a <a href="http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=MacIver_Institute" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Koch brothers-funded</a> operation) published an <a href="http://www.maciverinstitute.com/2013/10/obamacare-exchange-website-asks-applicants-to-register-to-vote/" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">article</a> that implied there was some sort of heinous objective on the part of the Obama administration for having included a link to a voter registration form on the Obamacare website. This startling revelation is met with foreboding by MacIver and a flurry of right-wing media outlets that disseminated MacIver’s story, including National Review, Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, Breitbart News, the Daily Caller, and Fox News. All of their reports agreed that this was a clandestine attempt to register only Democratic voters despite the absence of any partisan framing. MacIver even asks specifically “[W]hat does registering to vote have to do with signing up for Obamacare?”</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">The core of the right’s trepidation is rooted in a more fundamental aversion to the act of voting itself. It is why they are continually erecting new barriers to voting. Democrats, on the other hand, have sought to expand voter turnout with bills like the <a href="http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/42usc/subch_ih.php" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">1993 National Voter Registration Act</a> (aka Motor Voter) that mandates certain government agencies provide people with access to voter registration. In fact, that 20-year-old law requires that Obamacare administrators make voter registration available. MacIver, and similarly mortified conservative comrades, are either unaware of this, or are deliberately feigning ignorance in order to rile up their conspiracy-prone base.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">5) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=10728" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Weekly Standard Finds Imaginary Threat On Obamacare Website</a><br />The ultra-conservative Weekly Standard dispatched its crack reporters to ferret out what it <a href="http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obamacare-website-source-code-no-reasonable-expectation-privacy_762489.html" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">portrayed</a> as an ominous security threat on the Healthcare.gov website. What it found were comments in the site’s source code that said that “You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.” The Standard notes that these comments were not visible to users and were not part of the site’s terms and conditions. But that didn’t stop them from implying that users would be still be bound by it because “the language is nevertheless a part of the underlying code.” Not really. It’s only a part of some inoperative text that carries no more obligation than some discarded notes.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">This is another situation where you have to wonder whether these people are embarrassingly stupid or brazenly dishonest. There is a reason this language was not visible. It was deliberately removed with the use of HTML comment tags by the site’s programmers. It was undoubtedly edited out because it was not an accurate expression of the site’s privacy policy. It does not mean that users are agreeing to a secret clause permitting the government to spy on them as the Standard implied. If any of these “reporters” had a 14-year-old at home they could have learned what this is about. But that would have interfered with their goal, which is to leave Americans with the false impression that some hidden danger lurks beneath the surface of Obamacare.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">6) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=10718" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Fox News Fears ACORN Is Back To Push ObamaCare</a><br />The Curvy Couch Potatoes over at Fox &amp; Friends had a jolly old time resurrecting their fear of a community organizing enterprise that no longer exists. ACORN was wrongly hounded out of business by right-wing opponents after pseudo-journalist and convicted criminal James O’Keefe distributed some deceitfully edited and libelous videos. But that hasn’t stopped conservative media from exhuming the corpse whenever they are in need of a sensationalist story, as demonstrated by Fox co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who announced that “We’re getting information that ACORN operatives are trying to sign people up for the Affordable Care Act.”</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">While ACORN was never found to have engaged in any unlawful activity, there was a bill passed that prohibited them from receiving federal funds. However, there is nothing in the law that prevents organizations with former ACORN staff from getting federal grants. In fact, there isn’t even any current law that prevents ACORN from getting grants as the previous ban was not included in the latest Continuing Resolution. Fox is brazenly misrepresenting the facts in an attempt to reignite fears of the old ACORN bogeyman. They upped the terror ante by further alleging that ACORN would use your personal medical and financial information against you politically. They never revealed how that would occur, or to what end, but that isn’t the point. Their only interest is spreading fear, no matter how irrational and unsupported.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>Conclusion</strong></p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">The zealousness with which these right-wing propagandists pursue their disinformation campaign is evidence of their own fear that Americans will come to appreciate having access to affordable healthcare. Therefore, they see their mission as derailing the program before that eventuality unfolds. Their tactics get more extreme and absurd the closer the program gets to gaining acceptance. A particular target of their attack is young people whose participation is important for the program to succeed. Consequently, opponents have launched a well-funded campaign (thanks to the Koch brothers) to scare off young consumers. Generation Opportunity has already released the now notorious “Creepy Uncle Sam” videos that make false implications of government intrusion into medical care. Next they are embarking on a 20-city college tour to mislead students.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">PolitiFact has reviewed 16 claims made by Obamacare detractors and found all of them false. Twelve of those were designated <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=10617" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">“Pants On Fire” lies</a>. If there is one question that begs to be asked, it is this: If Obamacare is so terrible, why do opponents have to tell so many lies about it?</p> Wed, 23 Oct 2013 07:41:00 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 913885 at http://ww.alternet.org Media Media obama 10 Biggest Rejects Scooped Up By Fox News http://ww.alternet.org/media/10-biggest-rejects-scooped-fox-news <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Fox seems to regard the discards of other networks as its richest vein of new talent.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2013-05-13_at_7.33.47_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Journalism is a competitive field, and the best and the brightest are highly valued by reputable news enterprises. And then there’s Fox News.</p><p>No other “news” organization so aggressively recruits the rejects and reprobates cast off from other media employers. It must be a great comfort for wayward reporters and pundits to know that if they should violate the standards of ethics and/or decency demanded of them, they will always have somewhere to turn for sympathy and a fat paycheck, not to mention an undiscriminating audience.</p><p>For so many fallen television personalities, Fox News has been a support system that promises them a steady career path and a future that, in the past, would have meant well-deserved humiliation and disgrace. For these folks, Fox was their white knight that stepped forward to whitewash their professional sins.</p><p><strong>1. Judith Miller:</strong> In the lead-up to George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, <em>New York Times</em> reporter Judith Miller coordinated with the administration to make the case for war. Her articles gave credibility to fabricated allegations that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. Eventually her distortions were revealed and the <em>Times</em> sent her packing. And who else but Fox would have welcomed her with such open arms?</p><p><strong>2. Erick Erickson:</strong> Following the election in November 2012, many news outlets resolved to reexamine their operations and staff. CNN concluded that there was no longer a place for an ultra-conservative blogger who once called Supreme Court Justice David Souter a “goat-fucking child-molester.” Fox was also undergoing a self-examination, and decided that Erickson was just what it was looking for.</p><p><strong>3. Rick Sanchez:</strong> Not satisfied with calling Jon Stewart a bigot in a radio interview, Sanchez elaborated by falling back on the well-worn anti-Semitic theme that "Jews control the media." “[E]verybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart,” Sanchez said, “and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they – the people in this country who are Jewish – are an oppressed minority? Yeah.”</p><p>Today Sanchez is a correspondent with Fox News Latino and MundoFox. Ironically, Sanchez once castigated Latinos who worked for Fox as “sell-outs.” Fox responded by saying, “Everyone knows that Rick is an industry joke, he shows that he’s a hack everyday. And he doesn’t have to worry about working at Fox because we only hire talent who have the ability to generate ratings.”</p><p><strong>4. Pat Buchanan:</strong> The author of notoriously bigoted books like <em>State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America</em>, Buchanan was released from his contract with MSNBC after he wrote that as a result of “the rise to power of an Obama rainbow coalition of peoples of color [...] whites may discover what it is like to ride in the back of the bus.” He then complained that he was a victim of blacklisting by a coalition of blacks, gays and Jews, before being swept up by Fox.</p><p><strong>5. Juan Williams:</strong> A veteran correspondent for National Public Radio, Williams went astray when he confessed that “when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.” Williams failed to see the inherent racism in his commentary and refused to apologize. Shortly after NPR relieved him of his duties there, Fox signed him to a new multimillion-dollar contract.</p><p><strong>6. Mark</strong><strong> Fuhrman:</strong> A regular crime analyst on Fox, Fuhrman may be better known as the disgraced former Los Angeles police officer who upended the O.J. Simpson trial by falsely testifying that he had never used racist epithets. That sort of behavior, however, is not a problem for the editorial bosses at Fox.</p><p><strong>7. Doug McKelway:</strong> A familiar face in Washington DC, McKelway anchored a local news broadcast until he drew complaints for having told a gay activist he was interviewing that he wanted to take him outside and punch him in the face. That episode capped a rocky tenure during which he often fought with producers over his perception that the station’s broadcasts were too liberal. He doesn’t have that problem anymore, now that he is a correspondent at Fox.</p><p><strong>8. Lou Dobbs:</strong> This long-time CNN anchor was ostensibly CNN’s financial expert. Somewhere along the way he assumed the role of an immigrant basher and a proponent of the racist notion that all terrorists are Muslim. And to sweeten the pot, Dobbs joined the birther brigade by repeatedly demanding that President Obama produce his “real” birth certificate. In retrospect, it seems like Dobbs was positioning himself for future work at Fox News.</p><p><strong>9. Oliver North:</strong> Here’s an oldie but goodie. Col. North was convicted of lying to Congress about President Reagan’s arms-for-hostages affair. While the conviction was later overturned by an appellate court that ruled North’s testimony had been immunized, the underlying facts were not in question. North’s confession to a host of illegal acts was not a hindrance to his becoming a host on Fox News.</p><p><strong>10. Don Imus:</strong> What can be said about the guy who was fired for calling a group of women on a college basketball team “nappy-headed hos?” Fox calls him the anchor of the morning block on its financial network.</p><p><strong>11. Tucker Carlson:</strong> Perhaps the poster child for Fox’s Disgraced Reporter Rescue Program is Tucker Carlson, who has managed to fail on CNN, PBS and MSNBC before receiving salvation from Fox. Like Sanchez, Carlson once held Fox in low esteem, calling it “a mean, sick group of people,” after it published his home phone number on the Fox website. But when Carlson was jettisoned from MSNBC he worked his way back into the good graces of Fox as the editor of the Daily Caller blog, then as a Fox contributor, and now the co-host of the weekend edition of "Fox &amp; Friends."</p><p>This pattern of staff development relies heavily on applicants (or, in the case of Sanchez and Carlson, supplicants) with proven histories of impropriety. Fox seems to regard the discards of other networks as its richest vein of new talent. If the prospect has any lingering felonies on his or her rap sheet, all the better. The frequency with which Fox acquires ethically challenged employees belies any suggestion that it is mere coincidence. Fox is clearly drawn to the reportorial riffraff and regards moral defects as badges of honor.</p> Mon, 13 May 2013 16:25:00 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 839749 at http://ww.alternet.org Media Media fox news networks 7 Weirdest Conspiracy Theories Now Taken Seriously by GOP http://ww.alternet.org/media/7-weirdest-conspiracy-theories-now-taken-seriously-gop <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Right-wing fear peddlers are now advising elected representatives to initiate investigations and draft bills addressing non-existent threats.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2013-05-08_at_1.57.28_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">Once upon a time, the most outlandish fantasies of fringe political fabulists were confined to a narrow spectrum on the AM radio dial. They concocted delusional narratives that ranged from murderous first ladies to galactic alliances with Martians. It was an entertaining world of fiction and a guilty pleasure for some, even as the true believers were convinced of the frightening fate that was unfolding.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">Today, however, the boundaries between rational political discourse and raving madness have been erased. The extremist peddlers of nightmare scenarios who were once thought to be charmingly eccentric at 1am are now advising elected representatives of the people to initiate investigations and draft bills addressing these non-existent threats. Here are just a few of the urban legends that are circulating in the halls of state and federal legislative bodies courtesy of the whack job broadcasting set.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>1. The UN Arms Treaty and US Sovereignty</strong><br />The United Nations recently passed an initiative to address the proliferation of “illegal” arms trading amongst terrorists and rogue nations. As expected, the right-wing Chicken Little Brigade <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=7530" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">immediately began protesting</a> that this was another attempt to dilute national sovereignty and bring about a one-world government. Of course, there is nothing in the proposal that would infringe on the rights of any nation to set their own standards for gun ownership. The actual resolution explicitly states that countries will “exclusively” maintain the right within their borders to, “regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through national constitutional protections on private ownerships.“</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">This perfectly reasonable attempt to disarm criminals and tyrants was opposed initially by Alex Jones and similar fringe broadcasters. But eventually their outrage bubbled up to singe Republicans <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/290001-senate-votes-to-stop-us-from-joining-un-arms-treaty">in congress who managed to prevent the treaty’s ratification.</a>The GOP opposition was notable for the fact that it concurred with the only three UN nations that also opposed it: Syria, Iran and North Korea.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>2. Commies?</strong><br />This may seem like a throwback to the 1950s and the Red Scare promulgated by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and others. But make no mistake, this is all too current. Commie hunters in the fringe media are still accusing all liberals of having pinko sympathies. And they have an ally in former representative Allen West, who is now hosting his own webcast. West told a group of supporters that “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.” West lost his seat last November, but it is important to note that the leadership in the House never rebuked him or dissociated themselves or the GOP from his remarks.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>3. Muslims?</strong><br />This is a corollary to the commie conspiracy updated to smear a more contemporary foe. Originally this allegation was espoused by the infamous Islamophobe Pamela Geller. She latched unto the fact that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a close aide with a Muslim-sounding name.<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huma_Abedin" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Huma Abedin</a> has worked for Clinton for more than a decade and is respected by all who know her. She was even defended by House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. John McCain. That didn’t stop a cabal of House members, led by Tea Party queen Michele Bachmann, to fire off a letter to the State Department demanding an investigation and alleging that Abedin had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">There was never any evidence provided to support these allegations. Nor is there any evidence accompanying the <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/04/27/1931051/tea-party-congressman-obama-bungled-investigation-of-boston-bombings-because-he-is-being-guided-by-muslim-brotherhood/" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">new accusations</a> by Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who told WorldNetDaily that Obama deliberately “bungled” the investigation of the Boston marathon bombing because “this administration has so many Muslim Brotherhood members that have influence.”</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>4. Benghazi</strong><br />The king of right-wing talk radio, Rush Limbaugh got the ball rolling with this one. He alleged on his program that Obama was deliberately blocking the investigation into the attack on the US facility in Libya. Limbaugh could not come up with an explanation for why Obama would want to stymie the inquiry, so the implication left hanging was that he had some connection to the attack that he wanted to cover up.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">Numerous other media outlets jumped on this mini-bandwagon with <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8117" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Fox News assuming a prominent role</a>. Every Fox program began banging the Benghazi drum, and integral to their publicity push was escalating the scandal to include congressional players to add Washington credibility (such as it is). Republicans like Lindsey Graham and John McCain were happy to comply.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>5. The Most Important Story In History</strong><br />Not one to be ignored, Glenn Beck joined the fray with what he considered to be the <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=9526" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">“most important story in history.”</a> The plot involved a Saudi man who was briefly questioned following the Boston marathon bombing. It was quickly discovered that he was a victim, not a suspect, and he was released to recover from his injuries. Beck, however, would not let go of the story. He threatened the White House that if it was not forthcoming with the truth, he would reveal the evidence he had that would blow the roof off the White House.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">Beck’s deadline came and went with no revelations of scandal. He merely repeated what he had previously alleged, which had already been debunked. Which makes it all the more curious that four members of congress are officially <a href="http://wonkette.com/513260/looks-like-glenn-beck-has-at-least-four-listeners-in-the-house-who-want-to-know-about-saudi-bomber" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">demanding answers</a> from the Department of Homeland Security based on what they call “media reports,” but are really just Beck’s psychotic discharges.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>6. The Government Is Stockpiling Ammunition To Kill Us All</strong><br />Last year there was a <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=9126" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">flurry of panicky hand-wringing</a> by notorious conspiracy mongers over reports that agencies of the federal government had purchased large caches of ammunition. In the minds of the nutcases on the right, that was evidence that the DHS was plotting a response to some impending disaster scenario wherein they will be forced to kill every person in America five times. That is precisely what <span class="il" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 204); ">Mark</span> Levin, Sean Hannity’s replacement for Sarah Palin, is terrorizing his radio listeners with.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">This phony horror story was summarily dismissed by the DHS with documentation and proof that nothing out of the ordinary was occurring. It was merely a purchase contract to lock in lower prices for ammunition used commonly by several law enforcement agencies for regular use and training. Nevertheless, <a href="http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2013/04/29/gao-now-investigating-dhs-ammo-purchases" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">congressional overreaction</a> to the “news” has resulted in a General Accounting Office inquiry into the purchase request. That inquiry was spurred by GOP senator (and Levin listener) James Inhofe, who has also drafted a bill to prohibit ammunition purchases in amounts larger than those of previous administrations. Presumably that’s to make sure that the black guy doesn’t get any ideas.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>7. And Then There’s Agenda 21</strong><br />Among the conspiracy theory elite there is only one supreme and all-encompassing doctrine of apocalyptic disaster: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agenda_21" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Agenda 21</a>. The furor over this initiative dates back to the John Birch Society. In reality it is just a UN guide to sustainable environments that recommends some completely voluntary measures aimed at advancing smart growth and safer, more livable communities. It was adopted by 178 countries and signed for the U.S. by President George H.W. Bush. It was, however, never ratified by the senate.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">Somehow this benign project was transformed in the minds of conservative mythmakers into a monstrously evil plot to steal the liberty of all mankind. Glenn Beck even <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8507" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">wrote a book</a> describing it as “centralized control over all of human life on planet earth.” But the panic doesn’t stop there. Multiple state resolutions banning its implementation with a foreboding tenor have been enacted. For example, Tennessee’s resolution condemned its “destructive and insidious nature” and began by saying…</p><blockquote style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><p>“WHEREAS, the United Nations Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control that was initiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development…”</p></blockquote><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">That’s fairly typical of the numerous legislative measures aimed at defending America from a tyrannical, global, one-world government, orchestrated by despotic environmentalists and the liberal media. And we might as well throw in George Soros because that’s who freshman senator <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/agenda-21-update-prospective-senator-cruz-texas-agender.html" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Ted Cruz of Texas believes</a> is responsible for the whole affair. Cruz has promised that he will “…continue leading the fight, to stop Agenda 21 and any other globalist plan that tries to subvert the U.S. Constitution and the liberties we all cherish as Americans.”</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">These delusional and thoroughly discredited inventions from the paranoia factories of Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, etc., were once the province of the radio backwoods and militia ham operators. And as frightening as these grim fairy tales are, what’s truly scary is that this conspiratorial fiction is now being embraced by elected officials in Washington and state houses across the country.</p> Wed, 08 May 2013 10:35:00 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 837083 at http://ww.alternet.org Media Media conspiracy theory threat rush limbaugh agenda 21 7 Craziest Fox News Attacks Against Its Critics http://ww.alternet.org/media/7-craziest-fox-news-attacks-against-its-critics <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The allegedly powerful network is actually a thin-skinned schoolyard bully.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/images/managed/media_sean.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p><span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">In the cable news business there is one network that relentlessly boasts about its prominence and formidable presence above all others. Fox News is clearly taken with itself and is even promoted in its own ads as "The Most Powerful Name in News."</span><span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">That makes it all the more curious that Fox seems to shudder when confronted with opposing arguments.</span></p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">Fox News is often the subject of well-deserved criticism due to its aversion to facts and a long record of strident bias. However, its first reaction to reasonable rebuttals is to go on the attack against its perceived enemies. This is behavior reminiscent of schoolyard bullies with marshmallow centers who struggle to mask hurt feelings with forced bluster. Some recent examples illustrate just how thin-skinned this allegedly powerful network really is, and how prone it is to whining when it gets smacked down.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>1. At a press conference</strong>, President Obama astutely noted that Fox News has a penchant for punishing Republicans who dare to work cooperatively with Democrats, which thereby discourages Republicans from such cooperation. That rather modest observation <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8937" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">sent Fox News into a tizzy</a>. Jumping immediately to the most absurd stretches of hyperbole, Steve Doocy of Fox &amp; Friends fired up the outrage machine to accuse the President of attacking, not merely Fox News, but the First Amendment. Meanwhile the determinedly <a href="http://amzn.to/UPoI6a" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">dishonest Fox Nation</a> website declared the President’s remarks to be a threat. How Obama was infringing on freedom of the press or threatening anyone was never explained.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>2. In an interview Al Gore commented</strong> on Fox News and right-wing talk radio saying, “The fact that we have 24/7 propaganda masquerading as news, it does have an impact.” Rather than try to dispute the truth of Gore’s comment, Fox’s Peter Johnson Jr. <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8998" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">launched into a harangue</a> about Gore permitting a news enterprise based in the oil-producing nation of Qatar to buy his network, Current TV. That had nothing to do with Gore’s remarks, but it did serve Johnson’s purpose of blindly lashing out at Gore for daring to besmirch Fox.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>3. Author and military foreign policy expert Tom Ricks</strong> was invited on to discuss his new book, <em>The Generals</em>. Fox host Jon Scott thought he could get Ricks to join Fox’s <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8537" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">crusade blaming</a> Obama for the tragedy in Benghazi, but Ricks wasn’t cooperating. He told Scott that “I think that the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party.” That was apparently too much for Jon Scott, who abruptly ended the interview less than 90 seconds after it began. After taking criticism from other media for that self-serving censorship, Fox VP Michael Clemente doubled down and disparaged Tom Ricks for not having “the strength of character to apologize.”</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>4. Greta Van Susteren saw an opportunity</strong> to whimper about <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8492" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">how mistreated Fox is</a> when she complained that the State Department had left it off the mailing list for a couple of news briefings. She said it was “a coordinated effort” to punish Fox by “denying Fox access to information.” What she failed to disclose was that the State Department had previously explained that it had only notified news organizations that had reporters assigned to cover the department and that, having none, Fox didn’t get on the list. But that explanation didn’t stop Van Susteren and others at Fox from assailing the administration for an imagined snubbing.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>5. In a debate over whether NBC</strong> had ever criticized President Obama on the use of drones, <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=9026" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Bill O’Reilly falsely claimed</a> that the drone story never appeared on NBC. In fact, it was NBC that broke the story. The following night, after much ridicule for his egregious mistake, rather than apologize and set the record straight, O’Reilly lashed out at the “loons” who were engaging in “more deceit from the far left.” As usual, any critical analysis of O’Reilly or Fox News is viewed as liberal Fox-bashing and is met with name-calling and vilification.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>6. Fox’s Juan Williams</strong> is one of the network’s alleged lefties. When he made a disturbingly racist comment about his fear of flying with Muslim passengers, he was let go by his other employer, NPR. The reaction from Fox News was swift and repulsive. <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=3236" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Fox CEO Roger Ailes lashed out</a> in defense of his pet liberal, saying that NPR is “...of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism.” Most people would regard that as something of an overreaction, but for Fox it is consistent with its characteristic vengefulness when it considers itself under siege.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>7. Perhaps the most frequent target</strong> of Fox’s vitriol is the watchdog group, Media Matters for America. By defining its mission as a monitor of conservative bias in the news, Media Matters has earned the <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=6469" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">undying enmity of Fox News</a>. In the course of its persistent barrage of slander aimed at Media Matters, Fox has called the founder, David Brock (without substantiation), a dangerous, self-loathing, mentally ill drug user. Fox was so frightened of Media Matters that, in the week prior to publication of its book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307279588/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=newscorpsecom-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0307279588" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">The Fox Effect</a>, Fox News broadcast no fewer than a dozen derogatory pieces in a preemptive strike with segments on its most popular programs, including The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity and Fox &amp; Friends. It was the sort of blanket coverage usually reserved for a natural disaster, a declaration of war, or a lewd TwitPic of a politician. Fox’s anti-Media Matters campaign even included more than 30 solicitations on the air by Fox anchors beseeching viewers to file complaints with the IRS challenging Media Matters’ tax-exempt, non-profit status.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">These are just a few of the more notable instances when Fox has engaged in pronounced public wailing after taking flack from a critic. But it’s an almost daily occurrence for Fox to slap back at a politician, pundit or even a celebrity, who utters something Fox regards as unflattering. For a network that touts its powerfulness, Fox News behaves with the sort of sensitivity generally associated with sniveling weakness, wildly lashing out at critics and stubbornly refusing to acknowledge mistakes or accept responsibility for errors. This may be undignified, unprofessional and immature, but it is the Fox way.</p> Mon, 18 Feb 2013 07:21:00 -0800 Mark Howard, AlterNet 796548 at http://ww.alternet.org Media Media News & Politics fox news bill o'reily John Scott The most powerful name in news 12 Unbelievably Awful Things Fox News Did This Year http://ww.alternet.org/12-unbelievably-awful-things-fox-news-did-year <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Fox was clearly operating at the top of its capacity to distort and deceive.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2012-12-31_at_6.11.08_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>2012 was a dismal year for Fox News. The PR arm of the GOP failed to fulfill its prime directive: advancing the interests of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party. It spent much of the year constructing an alternative reality that left millions of its flock in shock when President Obama won an overwhelming reelection. It refused to accept the facts on the ground and denigrated polls (even its own) when the results conflicted with the fictional narrative it was peddling. And perhaps most painful of all, Fox <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8608" target="_blank">surrendered its ratings lead to MSNBC</a>. Two-thirds of its primetime lineup (Hannity and Van Susteren) dropped to second place behind the competition on MSNBC (Maddow and O’Donnell). However, Fox’s travails did not occur for lack of effort. It was clearly operating at the top of its capacity to distort and deceive. In the process it unleashed some of the most feverishly biased reporting, even for Fox News. What follows are a few of the worst departures from ethical journalism by Fox in the last year.</p>1) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8586" target="_blank">Romancing Petraeus: Fox News CEO Roger Ailes tries to recruit for the GOP</a>.<p>The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward revealed that Fox News CEO Roger Ailes had dispatched a Fox News defense analyst, to Kabul, Afghanistan to recruit Gen. David Petraeus as a GOP candidate for president. The notion of a news network soliciting candidates for political office is a perversion of the role journalists play in society. In response, Ailes claimed that it was “a joke” and that he “thought the Republican [primary] field needed to be shaken up.” Where Ailes got the idea that it was his right and/or duty to shake up the GOP primaries is unexplained. News people are supposed to report the news, not make it. Woodward’s story affirms that Fox News is a rogue operation. Its intrusion into the political process debases journalism by breaching all standards of ethical conduct. And it debases democracy as well by exploiting its power and wealth to manipulate political outcomes.</p>2) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=7197" target="_blank">Fox News produces its own anti-Obama video</a>.<p>Last May on Fox &amp; Friends, the program’s hosts introduced a video that purported to examine “Four Years of Hope and Change.” What it was in reality was a four-plus minute campaign video that presented a variety of soundbites by President Obama accompanied by ominous graphics and eerie music that falsely implied his campaign promises were unkept. The video (which <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/201205300004" target="_blank">Media Matters thoroughly debunks here</a>) could not have been a more pro-Romney, anti-Obama attack had it been produced by the Republican National Committee. Apparently Fox News also recognized the gross inappropriateness of its anti-Obama attack ad. Minutes after the video was posted online it was removed. Later, an edited version was re-posted, and then that too was removed. Eventually, Fox EVP Bill Shine issued a statement scapegoating an “associate producer” and concluding that the matter “has been addressed.” But it’s difficult for Fox to absolve itself of responsibility for this atrociously unethical affair. By now it is so obvious that Fox exists only to promote Republicans and bash Democrats that this video fits squarely within its mission.</p>3) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=6396" target="_blank">Question for Fox News: How much rape is too much?</a><p>In a discussion of the role of women in the military, Fox News contributor Liz Trotta expressed an opinion about new rules from the Pentagon that would permit women to serve closer to the front lines. Trotta’s take on this centered on the problems faced by servicewomen who are sexually assaulted by fellow soldiers whom she regards as whiners because they won’t shut up and accept the fact that if they work closely with men they should expect to be assaulted. And if that weren’t bad enough, Trotta went on to complain about the expensive military bureaucracy set up to “support women in the military who are now being raped too much.” I would really like to know precisely how much rape is acceptable before it crosses Trotta’s line. Is there any context in which she might have meant that that isn’t unfathomably repulsive?</p>4) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=7592" target="_blank">Fox News conning Latinos for politics and profit.</a><p>Fox viewers are accustomed to stories about “illegals” swarming across the border to take up residency in the U.S. and sponge off of our prosperity. There is hardly a mention of immigrants on Fox that isn’t associated with crime, joblessness or drug cartels. Lately, however, someone at Fox News has recognized a major flaw in its strategy to demonize immigrants, particularly Latinos, who are a growing constituency of both consumers and citizens who can vote and are registering in record numbers. So how does Fox maintain its editorial animosity toward immigrants without alienating an increasingly important voter group? The answer appears to be by developing news content specifically for this demographic and sequestering it from the rest of its viewership. This has resulted in a flurry of disparaging articles on the Fox News flagship, while the same story is presented on the new Fox News Latino in a far less bigoted fashion. The pinnacle of this hypocrisy occurred during a Fox report on the election when it displayed video of illegal border crossers with a caption reading “The Hispanic Vote.”</p>5) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=7714" target="_blank">Fox lies about military access to voting in Ohio.</a><p>This year Republicans in the state of Ohio sought to amend their early voting law so that only members of the military would be permitted to vote early in the three days prior to the election. Democrats objected to this as it discriminates against certain voters, and they filed suit to preserve the right of every Ohio citizen to vote early. Fox News picked up the story advancing the premise that Democrats were seeking to take something away from our military. Anchor Shannon Bream falsely declared that “If President Obama gets his way, the special voting rights of some of America’s finest will be eliminated.” The truth is that Democrats in Ohio were suing to ensure that nobody’s rights were eliminated. The Ohio GOP was deliberately attempting to suppress the votes of citizens they presumed would vote Democratic. And Fox News helped them in that mission by brazenly lying about the substance of the debate.</p>6) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=6851" target="_blank">Graphic evidence of the racism of Fox News: racial photoshopping</a>.<p>Coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting was handled by Fox News in a manner that is revealing and offensive. On the day that Florida law enforcement authorities planned to file charges against George Zimmerman, Fox ran a story featuring a photo of Zimmerman with a beaming smile alongside one of Martin that looked foreboding and was obviously darkened. The editors were demonstrating their overt hostility to both African Americans and journalistic ethics. Later in the day, a more impartial photo was inserted that was not as overtly disparaging of the victim. You think they got a few complaints about the previous photo? Fox had numerous pictures from which to choose of both Martin and Zimmerman, and it chose the most negative picture of Martin which it paired with the most positive picture of Zimmerman. This was not an accident. It was the result of deliberate editorial judgment. And it tells us everything we need to know about Fox’s editors.</p>7) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8187" target="_blank">The polling schizophrenia at Fox News</a>.<p>Throughout the year Fox News led its audience on a roller coaster ride of propaganda and censorship as it shifted from celebrating what it regarded as positive electoral news to suppressing the negative. It persistently sought to cloister its audience in a bubble that filtered out any facts that might upset its viewers or political patrons. Fox was so determined to shut out anything that might challenge its narrative that it even failed to report its own Fox News polls if Obama was ahead. This was a part of a broader effort to deceive its audience by castigating or ignoring polls when it didn’t like the results and praising the same pollsters when their numbers were more favorable. They launched a campaign to demean professional pollsters and prop up disreputable charlatans with its "unskewed” versions. Not surprisingly, this led to the unprecedented post-election state of shock experienced by those who were foolish enough to rely on Fox for information.</p>8) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=6237" target="_blank">Fox News psycho analyst: Newt Gingrich’s adultery means a stronger America</a>.<p>The in-house Fox News psychiatrist, Keith Ablow, has offered his embarrassingly ridiculous diagnoses on a number of occasions. Without ever having examined (or even met) President Obama, Ablow has declared him to be contemptuous of the judiciary and devoid of all emotion. He further assessed that Obama has “got it in for this country” and doesn’t like Americans. These are the delusional ramblings of a quack who is more preoccupied with his own animosity for the president than with credible psychiatric analysis. During the GOP primary, Ablow chimed in on criticism of Newt Gingrich for his serial marriages that ended when his wives became ill or failed to serve his political purposes. Ablow’s astonishing diagnosis was that Gingrich as president would make America stronger specifically because of his multiple infidelities. Ablow actually thinks that three wives and two extramarital affairs (that we know about) enhances Gingrich’s qualifications to be president. His reasoning had something to do with the fact that multiple homewreckers found him to be marriageable material and that was a mark of character. This is what passes for family values in today’s GOP.</p>9) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=7864" target="_blank">Fox News airs hour-long commercial for anti-Obama film on Hannity</a>.<p>In the heart of the presidential campaign season, Sean Hannity’s program on Fox News devoted the full hour to a blatant infomercial promoting an anti-Obama movie by the people who brought us Citizens United. The 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 chairman of Breitbart News and was 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. What’s particularly disturbing about this is that the producers freely admit that their purpose was 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 they chose October to release the film was so their advertising would appear during the campaign season and they could pretend it was merely marketing for the movie. This is not a conspiracy theory; it is something they specifically admit to and boast about. Fox News was merely the first stop on their media blitz.</p>10) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8021" target="_blank">Fox News “Democrat” Kirsten Powers accuses Obama of sympathizing with terrorists</a>.<p>The next time you hear the Fox News slogan “fair and balanced," be sure to remember that its rendering of fairness is to trot out covert conservatives and label them Democrats. A perfect illustration of this is alleged Democrat Kirsten Powers, who took to Fox News to attack President Obama in an article titled “President Obama, stop blaming the victim for Mideast violence.” Powers was addressing the violence at American facilities in Libya and Egypt when she wrote that respecting religious beliefs “is implicit sympathy for the claims of some of the attackers and rioters.” So Powers thinks that respect for the diversity of faith is tantamount to sympathizing with terrorists. She cannot comprehend that such respect is offered to the vast majority of peaceful Muslims who had nothing to do with the violence. And allowing her to spew that bile while posing as a Democratic analyst is part of how Fox distorts its presentation of fairness and balance.</p>11) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8156" target="_blank">Fox News spinning furiously on unemployment rate.</a><p>Behaving entirely consistently with a network that harbors politcos who want to see President Obama fail, Fox News cavalierly dismissed the October unemployment report showing a drop from 8.1 to 7.8 percent. Heaven forbid anything good happens in this country while President Obama is in charge. Fox spent the whole morning trying to hatch skeptics. It brought in former General Electric CEO Jack Welch to explain his delusional Tweet: “Unbelievable jobs numbers...these Chicago guys will do anything...can’t debate so change numbers.” Fox’s Stuart Varney concurred along with Donald Trump and a bevy of correspondents and guests. None of them could explain why an independent agency of career economists, without a single Obama appointee, would fudge the numbers for a president to whom they owed nothing.</p>12) <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8683" target="_blank">Fox opposes ban on assault weapons but imposes ban on talking about it.</a><p>The most heartbreaking news of 2012 was surely the massacre in Newtown, CT, where 20 schoolchildren and six adults were senselessly murdered by a deranged gunman. The resultant outcry from concerned Americans about the easy access to weapons that are capable of such carnage was met by Fox News as an attack on the Second Amendment and free enterprise. Its response was to slaughter the First Amendment by prohibiting any discussion of gun safety on the network. Sources told Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine that “David Clark, the executive producer in charge of Fox’s weekend coverage, gave producers instructions not to talk about gun-control policy on air.” It’s also worthwhile to note that while Fox banned all talk of gun control, it did not banish talk of other explanations for the atrocity in Connecticut. Fox had no problem with laying the blame on mental illness, movies or video games. Fox host Mike Huckabee was permitted to go on the air and blame the killings on the absence of God in the classroom (which does nothing to explain similar shootings that have taken place in churches).</p><p>While Fox News broadcasts flagrant distortions of reality on a daily basis, the examples above transcend the conventional dishonesty and bias that is its hallmark. These assaults on ethical journalism demonstrate how dangerous it is to permit a political enterprise to disguise itself as a news network in order to shape an extreme political agenda. It is evidence of social programming and manipulation at its worst. The sad part is that we can expect much more of this in 2013. Happy New Year!</p> Mon, 31 Dec 2012 15:00:00 -0800 Mark Howard, AlterNet 769200 at http://ww.alternet.org Media News & Politics fox news distortiosns America Likes Socialism More Than Fox News http://ww.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/america-likes-socialism-more-fox-news <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">What may come as a surprise to some is that approximately four-in-ten Americans view socialism positively.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_64068058_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p> </p><div>Throughout much of the last four years, Fox News, and the broader conservative media noise machine, invested incalculable hours yammering about the alleged socialist leanings of President Obama and Democrats in general. It became an obsession that infected even previously sedate Republican politicians as they rushed to placate radical elements of their party who are convinced that Obama is a Manchurian president sent by foreign enemies to hand America over to communist tyrants. And now that the election is over, Fox persists in tagging the President with a label they believe has derogatory implications.</div><div> </div><div>The first problem with this characterization is that it is patently untrue. Obama has presided over an administration that has been nothing but positive from the perspective of hardcore capitalists. The stock market doubled in his first term. He has appointed numerous Wall Street refugees to his cabinet and staff. Trade has increased. Corporate taxes are near an all time low. If Obama is a socialist, he is very bad at it.</div><div> </div><div>But more importantly, Americans who were bombarded with the campaign cacophony of Obama’s leftist conspiracy were undeterred and voted for him anyway. That could imply that the American people endorsed the socialism that they were told Obama represents. And that wouldn’t be far from the truth. The United States has abundant policies and institutions that are rooted in socialist philosophy. They are some of the most beloved and trusted institutions our government provides, including Social Security, Medicare, the Veteran’s Administration, and virtually every public works and infrastructure project managed by both federal and local agencies.</div><div> </div><div>The poll referenced above on Fox Nation was <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/158978/democrats-republicans-diverge-capitalism-federal-gov.aspx">conducted by Gallup</a>. As usual, the Fox Nationalists did not link to the actual poll, but to a partisan analysis of it. They certainly wouldn’t want to expose their audience to any real data. The survey found that Americans are quite fond of small business, free enterprise, and entrepreneurs, in almost equal numbers among Democrats and Republicans and across the ideological spectrum. The divergence came with respect to capitalism, big business, and the federal government. These results should not surprise anyone, knowing that the GOP is proud of their favoritism toward the wealthy and giant, multinational corporatism. And why wouldn’t Democrats feel favorably toward a federal government presided over by a Democrat?</div><div> </div><div>What may come as a surprise to some is that approximately four-in-ten Americans view socialism positively. That number includes about a quarter of both Republicans and conservatives. That’s an indication that the American people have a fairly enlightened view of the political and economic realities in this country. Although a small majority still have a kneejerk ignorance that shapes their views. The President would do well to adjust his agenda to more accurately reflect the will of the people.</div><div>The funny thing about Fox’s presentation of the data in the Gallup poll is that, <a href="http://www.people-press.org/2012/09/27/in-changing-news-landscape-even-television-is-vulnerable/">according to the Pew Reserach Center</a>, only “about one-in-five Americans (21%) say they regularly watch Fox News.” That means that twice as many Americans view socialism positively as view Fox. That’s an important fact to keep in mind the next time Fox tries to present itself as the voice of the people. It is decidedly not representative of the views of most Americans who clearly prefer socialism to Fox. And it’s evidence that the American people are smarter than Fox gives them credit for.</div><div> </div> Mon, 03 Dec 2012 11:04:00 -0800 Mark Howard, News Corpse 754392 at http://ww.alternet.org The Right Wing The Right Wing socialism fox news republicans president obama Greetings from Crazyland! 10 Instances of Fox Nation's Departure from Reality http://ww.alternet.org/media/greetings-crazyland-10-instances-fox-nations-departure-reality <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Fox Nation is a website integral to the Fox news family. And their abuse of reality and truth is truly breathtaking. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2012-11-27_at_5.26.05_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>When Fox News debuted sixteen years ago, it was crafted from scratch to be a partisan outlet for right-wing propaganda and a platform for advancing a conservative agenda. Its founder, Rupert Murdoch, was already an internationally known purveyor of right-slanted newspapers and broadcasters. Complimenting Fox’s television presence is its Internet community web site, Fox Nation. The statement of purpose posted on the Fox Nation web site says that it is“committed to the core principles of tolerance, open debate, civil discourse, and fair and balanced coverage of the news.” Needless to say, they have fallen wide of their alleged purpose by several light years.</p><p>Fox Nation is layered thickly with far-right extremist diatribes and links to disreputable articles plucked from the Internet’s fringes. And the notion that civil discourse can take place on Fox Nation is quickly dispelled by reading their user forums with their frequent use of the “N” word and juvenile references to the President as “Odumbo” and the First Lady as“Moo-chelle.” These sorts of comments are not anomalies. Fox Nation is deliberately catering to this caliber of audience who revel in overt racist and hostile dialogue. This is not the conventional, freewheeling online chatter that is found on comment boards and is particularly unusual for a site sponsored by a major national news network.<br /><br />Not much is known about the operations of Fox Nation. Unlike other news enterprises that  identify their principle staff, Fox Nation treats their publishers, editors, etc., as if they were covert agents of espionage. There is no masthead or bylines or any other indication of who is responsible for the repugnant content posted daily on the web page. Requests for this information from Fox corporate communications officers went unanswered. </p><div><p>What follows are ten excerpts from my ebook, <a href="http://amzn.to/UPoI6a" target="_blank">Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Community’s Assault On Truth</a>. The book chronicles more than fifty flagrantly dishonest reports by the Fox Nationalist team of faux journalists. These are not mere differences of opinion or discussions that might have varying degrees of perspective. They are obvious, provable, outright lies, and they are manifestations of a disconnect with the real world.</p><p><strong>1. "Human Carbon Emissions Could Put OFF a Lethal New Ice Age"</strong></p><p>According to the Fox Nationalists, the perpetrators of Global Warming are actually rescuing the planet from a frigid doom. They quote Cambridge University research published in the journal Nature Geoscience. The only problem with their conclusion is that the scientist they reference in the article, Luke Skinner, has a completely different conclusion. He says that he anticipated this response amongst climate crisis deniers and said that they are…</p><blockquote><p>“…missing the point, because where we’re going is not maintaining our currently warm climate but heating it much further, and adding CO2 to a warm climate is very different from adding it to a cold climate.</p><p>“The rate of change with CO2 is basically unprecedented, and there are huge consequences if we can’t cope with that.”</p></blockquote><p>Skinner <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16439807" target="_blank">told the BBC</a> that the results of the study point to the sensitivity of the climate system to “quite small changes in CO2, let alone the huge changes that we’ve been responsible for over the last 200 years.” Of course, none of that is included in the Fox Nation article. They deliberately neglect the obvious point that by the time the presumed ice age begins, in 1,500 years, global warming, if unchecked, would have already put half the planet’s current land mass under water. But these facts do not sway Fox from cherry-picking out-of-context soundbites to mislead their audience.</p><div>2<b style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px;">. "College Mate: Obama Was An Ardent Marxist-Leninist"</b></div><p><span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px;">In this episode Fox Nation posted as their featured headline story an article with the title: </span><i style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px;">College Mate: Obama Was an ‘Ardent’ ‘Marxist-Leninist.’</i><span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px;"> In order to fabricate this wholly dishonest smear, Fox sunk to re-posting a column written by conservative bomb-thrower Selwyn Duke. Duke’s article was originally published by The New American, the periodical of the extremist and notoriously fascistic John Birch Society.</span></p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px; margin-bottom: 10pt;">In the article, Duke relied entirely on the testimony of John Drew, a man who has been pushing his dubious and uncorroborated account of a college relationship with Obama for years. He claims that Obama was a close friend and confidant. The truth is he only met Obama casually a handful of times at gatherings with many others present. He never attended college with Obama because the future President didn’t enter Occidental College until after Drew had graduated.</p><span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px;">It’s painfully clear to anyone paying attention that Drew is attempting to exploit his brief encounters with Obama to exalt himself, disseminate his rightist propaganda, and earn a few bucks in the process. Now, after years of plodding through radical right-wing rags and Internet backwater rabble, Drew and Duke have succeeded in getting Fox Nation to sling their stale mud.</span><p> </p><p><b style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px;">3. "Obama Selling Amnesty For $465"</b><br /><span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px;">The issue of immigration is one that the Fox Nationalists relish in demagoguing. They publish numerous stories that are openly racist, as has been</span><a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=7592" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px;" target="_blank"> thoroughly documented</a><span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px;">. This is just such a story that was designed to inflame prejudice with its utterly dishonest skewing of the facts. The headline composed by Fox Nation is wholly untrue. Not only is amnesty not a part of the administration’s program, nothing in it is for sale.</span></p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px; margin-bottom: 10pt;">In truth, President Obama directed the Department of Homeland Security to exercise prosecutorial discretion so that innocent children who were brought to this country by undocumented parents are not unduly punished while a more comprehensive solution is negotiated with Congress. The program does not provide amnesty. The fee to apply for this program is intended to offset costs, but can be waived on a case by case basis for applicants unable to pay.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px; margin-bottom: 10pt;">None of those facts stopped Fox from deliberately misrepresenting the matter in a way that leads their audience to presume that the administration is peddling citizenship to foreigners who come here to steal our jobs. It appears that Fox picked up the story from the juveniles at Breitbart News where John Nolte published an article that implied that Obama’s goal is to mint new voters. Never mind that the immigrants partaking of this program will not have voting rights because they will not be citizens.</p><p> </p><p><strong>4) "Americans Not Buying Buffett Rule"</strong></p><p>The Buffett Rule that Americans are not buying refers to Warren Buffett's remarks that wealthy folks like him should not be paying lower tax rates than average folks like his secretary. So all that  Fox Nation had to do to validate their headline was produce the results of a poll that shows that a majority of respondents do not believe that raising taxes on millionaires will do any good. And since, in this case, they are relying on the results of a poll conducted by Fox News, they should be able to support whatever preconceived myth they want to invent.</p><p>However, the very first paragraph of their own story states that“more voters think raising taxes on wealthy Americans will help (40 percent) rather than hurt the economy (24 percent).” And the margin of difference (16%) isn’t even close. Yet somehow the headline atop the article overtly refutes the facts in their own survey. </p><p><strong>5) "NBC News Hires Anchor Who Pledged to Not Criticize Obama About Anything"</strong><br />In this episode of Fox Nation’s departure from reality, they jumped on remarks by Al Sharpton suggesting that he intends to refrain from ever criticizing President Obama. But that isn’t what he said.</p><blockquote><p>Sharpton: “What I don’t want to see is because he is black we act like he’s not the real president – he ought to be leading the black cause or the labor cause. He’s the President. To minimize who he is, I think, is an insult to the achievement of having him there.”</p></blockquote><p>So this was not about Sharpton never criticizing Obama, just not constraining Obama to being merely the president of black Americans as opposed to all Americans. Fox, on the other hand, should acknowledge that their whole business model rests on not criticizing Republicans and conservatives. In a specific example you have Dick Morris, who has been on the Fox payroll for years, and pledged never to criticize Mitt Romney:</p><blockquote><p>“I decided a couple of – a month or two ago to stop dumping on Mitt Romney, for example … Not because I approve of Romneycare, not because I approve of his flip-flops, flip on abortion, but because I may have to be one of those who carries this guy for a couple of months when he’s running against Obama and I don’t want to make my own task harder.”</p></blockquote><p>Morris fulfilled that promise by becoming one of Romney’s most ardent cheerleaders. Just days before Obama won with a commanding Electoral College victory, Morris told Fox News that a Romney landslide was a virtual certainty.</p><p><strong>6) "Elizabeth Warren Praises Communist China"</strong><br />In response to an ad by Elizabeth Warren when she was running for Senate, the Fox Nationalists not only lied, but exposed their latent unpatriotic tendencies as well. To state bluntly that “Elizabeth Warren Praises Communist China” is a thoroughly manufactured falsehood. She never did anything remotely of the kind. What she did was advocate for the importance of America remaining competitive on an international basis and not permit China to take the lead. Here is what she said:</p><blockquote><p>“We’ve got bridges and roads in need of repair, and thousands of people in need of work. Why aren’t we rebuilding America? Our competitors are putting people to work, building the future. China invests 9 percent of its GDP in infrastructure. America, we’re at just 2.4 percent. We can do better. We can build a foundation for a strong new economy and get people in Massachusetts to work right now.”</p></blockquote><p>There's a decidedly shallow grasp of world affairs on display here. They think that lamenting America falling behind on matters critical to international competitiveness is the same as praising a political system of government. Were these same conservatives outraged when Reagan, and other cold warriors, argued that the U.S. was falling behind the Soviet Union militarily and, therefore, they were praising Russia’s communism?</p><p><strong>7) "Stocks Tumble Worldwide After Obama Speech"</strong><br />The implication of this headline is that Obama’s speech had something to do with a stock market decline. However, the very first paragraph of the Bloomberg News article Fox cites specifically states that the decline is due to…</p><blockquote><p>“…escalating concern about Greece’s debt crisis and speculation congress won’t pass President Obama’s plan to boost the economy.“</p></blockquote><p>In other words, the markets favor Obama’s plan and want it to be implemented. So a more honest headline would have read“Stocks Tumble Worldwide Due To Republican Obstructionism.” But then again, if you’re looking for a more honest headline then you probably wouldn’t be reading Fox Nation in the first place.</p><p><strong>8) "Guess Who Tried To Break Into Southwest Cockpit?"</strong><br />Notice that in this headline the Fox Nationalists explicitly describes Ali Reza Shahsavari as trying to break into the cockpit of a Southwest Airlines plane. But anyone who read a little further down would have seen that the article unambiguously contradicts the headline saying “Initially, authorities said the man had tried to break into the cockpit but Amarillo Aviation Director Patrick Rhodes later said that he was ‘not trying to break into the cockpit, but was unruly and had confronted the cabin crew.’”</p><p>The headline was wholly the creation of Fox News. The story itself was sourced to the Associated Press, whose article got the headline right: “Southwest flight makes emergency landing in Texas.” So what we have here is Fox deliberately falsifying the headline in order to make a derogatory insinuation about a man of Iranian descent who just happens to be an American citizen born in Mississippi. The article states that there is no indication of terrorism and additional reporting describe the incident as an episode of mental illness triggered by an argument with another passenger. The only conclusion is that Fox saw a brown man with Middle-Eastern features and decided to invent an international terrorism incident where none existed by appending a provocative question to the story that contradicted the article’s content.</p><p><strong>9) "Man Linked to ‘Occupy’ Protest Charged With Attempted Assassination of Obama"</strong><br />The Fox News Channel ran a story with this same deceptive theme. They hosted Michelle Malkin to engage in a discussion that was deliberately designed to smear the Occupiers. During the segment they displayed a picture of the suspect, Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, with a caption that said: “‘Occupy’ Shooter.” There was no question mark or other qualifying notation to indicate that this was merely speculation on the part of Fox News.</p><p>For the record, the only link between this guy and the Occupy movement is the one invented by Fox. The Washington police have stated unequivocally that they have no evidence that he was affiliated in any way with the protesters. Reports that he may have tried to hide in the crowds at the Occupy DC site should not surprise anyone. Any densely populated location would attract somebody trying to elude law enforcement. A football game or an Alzheimer’s Walkathon would serve the same purpose.</p><p>What little is known about Ortega-Hernandez would likely lead objective analysts to suspect him of being a Teabagger. He is said to be anti-government, hates President Obama, and has a history of mental illness. That’s a profile that would fit perfectly for say … Glenn Beck.</p><p><strong>10) "Poll: Majority Blame Obama For Bad Economy"</strong><br />There have been numerous polls asking respondents to say who they hold responsible for the state of the American economy. George W. Bush ranks at or near the top. Usually President Obama is not the target of most of the blame.</p><p>Leave it to Fox News to come up with a poll that contradicts the others. And it should come as no surprise that the poll they’ve latched onto is the work of Rasmussen’s Pulse Opinion Research. However, even with a fixed pollster, and a rabidly partisan news outlet, Fox still finds it necessary to outright lie about the poll’s results.</p><p>In Rasmussen’s poll 34% said that Obama was the most to blame for the slow economic recovery. Most elementary school graduates know that that is not a majority. What’s more, if you add the responses of those who said that it was either Congress, Wall Street, or George W. Bush, it comes to a clear majority of 61% saying that Obama is not to blame. The Fox Nationalists must take great comfort in the knowledge that their audience is too incurious to actually look into anything themselves.</p><p>These are just a few examples of the veracity-challenged deceptions that appear everyday on Fox Nation. In the ebook,<a href="http://amzn.to/UPoI6a" target="_blank">Fox Nation vs. Reality</a>, there are dozens more examples of the documented, deliberate dishonesty that is the hallmark of Fox News. </p><p>Fox Nation is an integral part of the Fox News family and a critical component of their mission to deceive the general public and reinforce partisan tunnel-blindness. This makes it all the more necessary to shine a light on their cynical mauling of truthfulness in media. Mark Twain said that “Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” And the fabulists at Fox have imagination in abundance as evidenced by all the tales they make up on their web site. So the more they seek to deceive, the more the rest of us need to be prepared to rebut and confront them. As difficult as that task may seem, we can take heart in Stephen Colbert’s observation that “Reality has a well known liberal bias.” Which explains why it is so at odds with what Fox represents.</p></div><p> </p> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 14:02:00 -0800 Mark Howard, AlterNet 751044 at http://ww.alternet.org Media Media fox nation fox news Rachel Maddow Beating Hannity: Are People Finally Catching on to FOX News' BS? http://ww.alternet.org/rachel-maddow-beating-hannity-are-people-finally-catching-fox-news-bs <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The ratings tell an interesting story post-election. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2012-11-20_at_1.40.46_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Fox News is continuing to show weakness in its primetime schedule in the wake of President Obama’s reelection. In the eight days since election day MSNBC’s average audience for the key 25-54 year old demographic drew about 8% more viewers than Fox. [Source: <a href="http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/category/ratings" target="_blank">TVNewser</a>, weekday Nielsen ratings from 11/7-11/16]</p><p>Particularly impressive were the results of the two powerhouse programs on the MSNBC lineup: Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell. Maddow won seven of the eight days against her Fox competition, Sean Hannity. For the 8-day run Maddow beat Hannity by 18% and her 544k average was second to only Bill O’Reilly in all of cable news. O’Donnell won all eight days against Fox’s Greta Van Susteren. His margin of victory over Van Susteren was 17% for the eight days.</p><p>This can no longer be considered a temporary blip on the ratings scales. With two weeks having elapsed, the MSNBC programs are showing steady strength against competition that was once thought insurmountable. Only Bill O’Reilly is holding his top position for Fox in primetime. This may indicate that Sean Hannity is wearing thin with viewers who are likely disappointed with his overly confident (and harebrained) assurances that all the polls were wrong and that Mitt Romney would emerge victorious.</p><p>Hannity is perhaps the most stridently partisan host on the Fox News network and frequently augments his analysis with that of the pundit world’s most notorious nutcase, Dick Morris. As for Van Susteren, she never had the cult-like following of her Fox comrades, but she has been closely associated with her good friend (and client of her husband), Sarah Palin. That association may also have become a drag on the ratings of her show. Hannity has been with Fox since its launch and is still a top-rated radio talker. Van Susteren, on the other hand, had better start to show some improvement or her time slot will go to daytimer Megyn Kelly, a Roger Ailes favorite whose contract is expiring next year and likely wants to move to primetime.</p><p>MSNBC has an opportunity here to expand on the progress they have made in the past two weeks. They need a stronger lead-in to the primetime block. Ed Schultz has been doing OK, but he has not kept up with his colleagues. It might be a good idea to move both Maddow and O’Donnell up one hour, find an edgy, provocative host(s) for the 10pm slot (Harry Shearer &amp; Co.?), and give Schultz the Hardball rerun at 7pm (Harderball?). But one thing is for sure, Fox will not be sitting this out. If MSNBC doesn’t build on their momentum, Fox will dial up the heat and retake the lead they’ve had for the past decade. Hopefully MSNBC recognizes the short window they have to make these gains permanent and jump through it.</p><p></p><div alt="" class="media-image" height="358" width="454"><img alt="" class="media-image" height="358" width="454" typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/large/public/msnbc-fox-11-2012.jpeg" /></div> Tue, 20 Nov 2012 08:23:00 -0800 Mark Howard, News Corpse 747780 at http://ww.alternet.org Media msnbc fox news 10 Conservatives Who Have Praised American Slavery http://ww.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/10-conservatives-who-have-praised-american-slavery <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Republican Rep. Jon Hubbard has deemed slavery a blessing. His position is not as uncommon as you&#039;d think. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2012-10-10_at_1.38.38_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>For obvious reasons, the American conservative movement has long been dogged by accusations of racism and racial insensitivity. From their famed Southern strategy to their determined efforts to suppress minority voting via phony voter ID initiatives to their race-baiting Obama attacks, conservatives have made clear their opposition to a tolerant, multicultural America. In fact, much of their electoral strategy relies on scaring older, white voters about blacks and Hispanics taking over "their" country. </p><p>So it's not uncommon to hear a prominant conservative, even one who holds elected office, make patently offensive remarks. Yet some occasionally hit an unimaginable low. This week, it was revealed that Republican Rep. Jon Hubbard has published a book in which he wrote that “[T]he institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. He defended his book on Wednesday, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/10/jon-hubbard-arkansas-slavery_n_1954902.html">telling the Jonesboro Sun</a> that he still believed slavery to be a blessing because it helped blacks come to America. Yes, he praised slavery. And when given the opportunity to backpedal, he doubled down. </p><p>You may think that this does not occur often. You would be wrong. Here are a few other prominent conservatives who have suggested slavery was not all that bad.</p><p><strong>1. Pat Buchanan.</strong>In his essay “A Brief for Whitey,” Buchanan suggested that slavery was a net positive, saying that,“America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.”</p><p><strong>2. &amp; 3. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum</strong>. Bob Vander Plaats, the leader of the arch-conservative Family Leader, a religious organization that opposes same-sex marriage, got GOP presidential candidates Bachmann and Santorum to sign his pledge asserting that life for African Americans was better during the era of slavery: “A child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”</p><p><strong>4. Art Robinson</strong>. Robinson was a publisher and a GOP candidate for congress in Oregon. One of the books he published included this evaluation of life under slavery: “The negroes on a well-ordered estate, under kind masters, were probably a happier class of people than the laborers upon any estate in Europe.”</p><p><strong>5. Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson</strong>. Peterson is a conservative preacher who articulated this bit of gratitude: “Thank God for slavery, because if not, the blacks who are here would have been stuck in Africa.”</p><p><strong>6. David Horowitz</strong>. Horowitz is the president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and edits the ultra-conservative FrontPage magazine. In a diatribe against reparations for slavery, Horowitz thought this argument celebrating the luxurious life of blacks in America would bolster his case: “If slave labor created wealth for Americans, then obviously it has created wealth for black Americans as well, including the descendants of slaves.”</p><p><strong>7. Wes Riddle</strong>. Riddle was a GOP congressional candidate in Texas with some peculiar conspiracy theories on a variety of subjects. His appreciation for what slavery did for African Americans was captured in this comment: “Are the descendants of slaves really worse off? Would Jesse Jackson be better off living in Uganda?”</p><p><strong>8. Trent Franks</strong>. Franks is the sitting congressman for the second congressional district in Arizona. As shown here, he believes that a comparison of the tribulations of African Americans today to those of their ancestors in the Confederacy would favor a life in bondage: “Far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery.”</p><p>9. Ann Coulter. Known for her incendiary rhetoric and hate speech, Coulter was right in character telling Megyn Kelly of Fox News that, "The worst thing that was done to black people since slavery was the great society programs."<br /><br />10. Rep. Loy Mauch. This Arkansas GOP state legislator has found biblical support for his pro-slavery position. He wrote to the <em>Democrat-Gazette</em> to inquire, "If slavery were so God-awful, why didn’t Jesus or Paul condemn it, why was it in the Constitution and why wasn’t there a war before 1861?"</p><p>There is an almost palpable nostalgia among some conservatives for a bygone era wherein they could sip mint juleps under the magnolias while the fields were tended to by unpaid lackeys. And it isn’t a vague insinuation. Mitt Romney supporter Ted Nugent <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=7508" target="_blank">declared</a>, “I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War.” No one should regard it as a coincidence that so much of this racist animus has surfaced during the term of the first African-American president of the United States. It’s one thing to harbor such offensive racial prejudices privately, but when people in public life are comfortable enough to openly express opinions like these, it reveals something of the character of their movement. And what’s worse is that conservative and Republican leaders, given the opportunity, refuse to repudiate the remarks. Mitt Romney has stated that all he’s concerned about is getting 50.1% of the vote, and if that means tolerating appeals to racist voters in order to attain his goal, then it’s just a part of the process.</p> Wed, 10 Oct 2012 10:24:00 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 724785 at http://ww.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics conservatives slavery 10 Conspiracy Theories Hatched by Conservative Fearmongers As Election Day Nears http://ww.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/10-conspiracy-theories-hatched-conservative-fearmongers-election-day-nears <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The frequency and outlandishness of their conspiratorial imaginations grows in sync with their desperation. With Obama ahead in the polls, let&#039;s take a look at the absurdities hatched by our conservative fearmongers. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2012-10-08_at_10.51.25_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p> </p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; ">The lengths to which our conservative establishment goes to bury Obama in mud often resemble D-Movie spy plots that set new standards for implausibility.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; ">The frequency and outlandishness of their conspiratorial imaginations grows in sync with their desperation. With Obama leading in most polls and the election season drawing to a close, it seems like a good time to recap some of the more ludicrous conspiracies hatched by our conservative fearmongers. So with our tin-foil hats securely strapped on, let's  venture down the primrose path of hair-raising hypotheses. </p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; "><strong>1. Cooking the Unemployment Rate</strong></p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; ">The most recent crackpottery of the right was revealed last week as new unemployment numbers were released. The new data put the unemployment rate at 7.8%, the lowest it has been since the Bush administration helped crater the economy on their way out of town. Almost immediately, <a href="http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/10/job-truthers-jack-welch-bls.php" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">right-wingers declared that the numbers were manufactured</a> by Obama’s henchmen in the Labor Department. Never mind the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics is an independent body that currently has no Obama appointees serving. That didn’t stop conspiracists like Jack Welch from alleging that they are <em>“Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”</em> That unsubstantiated charge was adopted by Rep. Allen West, Fox News’ Stuart Varney, and much of the rest of the right-wing media circus.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; "><strong>2. The Media is Skewing the Polls</strong><br />For several weeks now, Obama has maintained a steady lead in election polling. That fact has been difficult for conservatives to square with their conviction that Obama is the most hated man in America. Consequently, they must conclude that all of the polls have been tampered with by scheming liberals. However, for their conspiracy to be credible, they would have to include Fox News and Rasmussen amongst the conniving lefties because their polling also puts Obama in the lead. One way they have found to workaround that inconvenient fact is to ignore the polls that challenge their thesis. Therefore, Fox News simply <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8014" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">neglects to report on polls that show the President leading</a> – even their own Fox News polls.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; "><strong>3. Politicizing the Stock Market</strong><br />In a year when the economy is such an integral part of the news cycle, conservatives have found it necessary to glom onto any factoid that they can use to bash the President. That manifests into a frenzy of spin that casts any decline in the stock market as the fault of Obama, and any increase as investor speculation that Obama is on the way out. Last week, many of the right-dominated business networks <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=8150" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">feebly described a positive day</a> for the Dow as a Romney rally, simply because it occurred on the day after the presidential debate. There is a long history of the right making idiotic assessments of the stock market. In May of 2009, Fox News anchor Brenda Buttner gushed, <em>“Call it a tea party rally. Wall Street’s sure partying, up six weeks in a row.”</em> In September of 2011, Fox Nation reported <em>“Stocks Tumble Worldwide After Obama Speech.”</em> Then in June of 2012, they fantasized that <em>“Stock Market Drops After Obamacare Upheld.”</em> Fox’s Neil Cavuto hosted a discussion of what he called the <em>“Bush recovery”</em> nine months into Obama’s term. What they commonly miss is that <a href="http://www.foxbusiness.com/investing/2012/09/04/history-shows-markets-gdp-outperform-under-democrats/" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">markets traditionally perform better under Democratic administrations</a> than Republicans.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; "><strong>4. Obama is Coming for Your Guns</strong><br />This conspiracy theory takes a considerable measure of willful suspension of disbelief. The National Rifle Association has <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jun/14/national-rifle-association/barack-obama-coming-after-guns-under-radar-nra-say/" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">alerted its members</a> that a second Obama term will result in the repeal of the second amendment and a wholesale confiscation of guns. Their evidence of this is that Obama has done nothing at all to roll back gun rights during his first term. That, they surmise, is a devious trick to lull gun rights advocates into a false sense of security. Then, when Obama is no longer facing a reelection campaign, he will be free to curtail all of our precious liberties.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; "><strong>5. The Social Security Administration’s Arms Cache</strong><br />When it was discovered that the Social Security Administration had purchased 174,000 bullets, the right-wing sirens went off and presumed that they were preparing for massive civil unrest and intended to use the ammo on Americans. <em>“‘Why would the U.S. government want the SSA to kill 174,000 of our citizens, even during a time of civil unrest?’ Maj. Gen. Jerry Curry wrote on the conservative website The Daily Caller.”</em> That would be a good question if it weren’t rooted in utter dementia. In fact, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/04/us/social-security-bullets/index.html" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">the actual reason</a> for the purchase was a routine acquisition to arm conventional security personnel at the agency’s offices across the country.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; "><strong>6. The Muslim Mole in the Secretary of State’s Office</strong><br />A longtime aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton was accused by conservatives of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Huma Abedin has worked with Clinton for many years as a trusted and effective public servant. No evidence was given for the repugnant allegations that cast her as a traitorous double agent. She is also married to former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is Jewish and unlikely to be affiliated with Muslim extremists. But that didn’t stop Rep. Michele Bachmann who said, <em>“it appears that there are individuals who are associated with the Muslim Brotherhood who have positions, very sensitive positions”</em> in our government. She was joined by other prominent conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Frank Gaffney. This conspiracy dove-tails nicely with those alleging that Obama is a Muslim plant as well.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; "><strong>7. Fact-Checkers Are A Liberal Plot</strong><br />Creative and shameless conservatives are establishing a new and unique front in the political war zone. Not satisfied with bashing everything about the media (despite the fact that talk radio and their own Fox News are a huge part of it), the wackoids on the right have declared war against – get this – Fact-checkers! This may seem wildly deranged, but upon reflection it makes perfect sense. If your entire movement is built on a foundation of lies, then fact-checkers are your mortal enemy. This became clear a few weeks ago when Neil Newhouse, a Mitt Romney adviser, publicly declared that <em>“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”</em>Since then they have disputed or ignored every challenge of their truthfulness. The result is a record setting collection of dishonorable mentions from PolitiFact and other media lie detectors.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; "><strong>8. The Secret Behind The Gulf Oil Spill</strong><br />When millions of barrels of oil were pouring into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, most Americans were disturbed by the devastating environmental damage and the negligence of the company operating the drilling platform. But conservatives led by Rush Limbaugh <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/media/2010/05/03/94901/fox-oil-conspiracy/" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">saw through the scheme</a> and revealed that the massive malfunction was actually a deliberate act of sabotage devised to create a justification for eliminating all off-shore drilling. Limbaugh told his audience that <em>“I want to get back to the timing of the blowing up, the explosion out there in the Gulf of Mexico of this oil rig … What better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig?”</em> You can’t argue with logic like that, because it’s the logic of a mad man who thinks the President would murder twelve workers and foul an environmentally sensitive region in order to achieve a political goal.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; "><strong>9. Obamacare’s Death Panels</strong><br />No list of conspiracy theories would be complete without a mention of Sarah Palin’s <em>“death panels.”</em> (Although the non-existant "death panels" have been roundly mocked, this did not stop Presidential candidate Mitt Romney from basically reviving them at <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/the-death-panels-lie-656485/">last week's debate. </a>)</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; ">These nefarious groups were said to have the power to decide whether your grandmother would live or die based on her level of productivity to society as determined by a team of government bureaucrats. In reality the section of the Affordable Care Act to which Palin referred actually provided for coverage to pay for end-of-life counseling. These were voluntary sessions to help patients determine and document what sort of life-saving measures they preferred in the event that they were incapacitated and unable to communicate their wishes to their doctors. When that proved to be an embarrassing misinterpretation of the law, conservatives switched to another section of the bill, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and called that the death panel. However, the IPAB was simply a board that assessed the best practices in medicine and made non-binding recommendations in order to prevent excessive billing and unnecessary procedures. Palin was awarded the <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2009/dec/18/politifact-lie-year-death-panels/" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank"><em>“Lie of the Year”</em></a> award from PolitiFact for her imaginary panel. </p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; "><strong>10. The Green Plot to Enslave the World</strong><br />Conservatives have never taken to science. So it should come as no surprise that many of them regard global warming as a hoax whose purpose is to enrich Al Gore and a few socialist wind farmers. But there is another faction of the anti-environment movement that has uncovered something even more dastardly lurking behind the effort to maintain a clean, sustainable planet.<a href="http://www.un.org/esa/desa/aboutus/dsd.html" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Agenda 21</a>, a little known and non-binding resolution adopted by the United Nations is viewed by some on the right as an attempt to control the lives of people throughout the world by regulating everything they do. Amongst their paranoid fears is that Agenda 21 will cede U.S. sovereignty to the U.N. and a one-world government. The truth is that Agenda 21 is a set of principles to guide the development of practices to preserve a sustainable environment for future generations. It is entirely voluntary and was agreed to by the U.N. in 1992 and signed by President George H.W. Bush. But to hear doomsayers like Glenn Beck put it, it will <em>“suck all the blood out of [our communities], and we will not be able to survive.”</em></p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; ">These are but a few of the tales woven by angst-ridden right-wingers in the dark moments when their thoughts wander from rational reality. However, the science that they scorn may have an explanation for their fantastical imaginings. Ryota Kanai, at the University College London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, examined how liberals and conservatives brains differ.<a href="http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2011/09/07/your-brain-on-politics-the-cognitive-neuroscience-of-liberals-and-conservatives/" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Among the findings</a> were that the brains of liberals have a larger anterior cingulate cortex which has been shown to produce thought proceses that are more flexible and reliant on data, proof, and analytic reasoning. Conservatives are more likely to have an enlarged amygdala which is associated with greater inflexibility, emotion, and fear response.</p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px; ">This could account for conservatives having a greater susceptibility to conspiracy models of thinking. Whatever the explanation, it is clear that their senses are working overtime and the results produce some pretty wild visions of nightmarish liberals threatening America’s very existence. They seem to have taken very seriously the warning from the Reagan-era horror film, The Fly: Be afraid. Be very afraid.</p><div> </div> Mon, 08 Oct 2012 07:27:00 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 723383 at http://ww.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics conservative 10 Rankest Hypocrisies of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party http://ww.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/10-rankest-hypocrisies-mitt-romney-and-republican-party <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The hyper-hypocrisy of today’s GOP has spread through the party’s bloodstream. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/photo_1346885177605-1-0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> Modern Republicans give us an opportunity to peer into the soul of a party that has embraced an open aversion to the truth. Meanwhile, their hypocrisy has reached historic proportions. It’s as if they have lost the ability to recognize the obvious contradictions they put forth. Or, more likely, they just don’t care, since lies and hypocrisy are an efficient way to score political points and smear opponents.  The hyper-hypocrisy of today’s GOP has spread through the party’s bloodstream. Below is a sampling of the most recent examples of rank right-wing hypocrisy.<p><strong>1. </strong>Romney has promised that his first action on day one of a Romney administration would be to repeal Obama's Affordable Care Act. Of course, he wouldn’t have any authority to do that and attempting to pass legislation in congress would get stopped short in the Democratic-controlled senate. However, he may want to have a discussion with his running mate. It was recently disclosed that <a href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/169757/exclusive-paul-ryan-quietly-requested-obamacare-cash" target="_blank">Paul Ryan quietly applied for funding</a> for a Wisconsin healthcare clinic in his district. The funds would come entirely from the Affordable Care Act that Ryan and Romney now propose to repeal.</p><p><strong>2. </strong>In an interview on the Bill Bennett radio show, Mitt Romney <a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/09/romney-blasts-priorities-attack-ad-spot-still-hasnt-had-paid-runs/" target="_blank">lashed out</a> at what he considered to be false ads by a pro-Obama super PAC. In the course of his tirade he lamented that “in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad.” Romney said this even as he refused to pull his own ads that had been rated “Pants-on-Fire” lies by <a href="http://www.politifact.com/personalities/mitt-romney/statements/byruling/pants-fire/" target="_blank">PolitiFact</a>. Subsequently, the Romney campaign decided to <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=7884" target="_blank">abandon any pretense to honesty</a> and declare that fact-checkers had “jumped the shark,” and that they would no longer “let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” In other words, we will lie if we feel like it.</p><p><strong>3.</strong> At the GOP convention in Tampa, Ann Romney gave a keynote speech in which she told women, “You are the best of America. You are the hope of America. There would not be an America without you.” It was a naked attempt to appeal to women voters the GOP is having trouble connecting with. However, beyond her flattery she never uttered a word of support for issues of importance to women. There was no mention of equal pay, gender discrimination in the workplace, parental leave, or child welfare services like healthcare or nutritional programs. The only references she made to education were how fortunate her husband and children were to have the benefit of attending first-rate institutions that most Americans will never see. And the GOP platform strikes a markedly different tone by banning access to family planning services and effectively asserting that women, “the hope of America,” are not competent to make decisions about their own bodies.</p><p><strong>4.</strong> The comments of GOP senate candidate Todd Akin regarding “legitimate rape” caused a firestorm of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Many on the right insisted that Akin withdraw from the Missouri senate race. However, most of the criticism was directed at the harm Akin caused to the GOP’s prospects of winning the seat, rather than to the offensive views he articulated. There was abundant gnashing of teeth over Akin’s stupidity for putting the election at risk. But when it comes to women, the right’s policies are actually a logical conclusion of Akin’s dumb outburst. In fact, Paul Ryan and Akin cosponsored a bill in the House that sought to redefine the term “rape.” Their bill would make federal funds unavailable for victims unless the crime was deemed “forcible,” which would have excluded many assaults that were statutory, incest or under duress.</p><p><strong>5.</strong> Fox News and Romney have both recently made an issue of legislation in Ohio that would remove early voting availability for all voters except those in the military. The Obama Justice Department challenged the law arguing that every voter should have early access to the polls. Romney and Fox responded by accusing the president of wanting to make it more difficult for soldiers to vote, even though the administration’s position is to make voting easier for everyone. What Romney and Fox did not mention was that their position would have denied early voting to over 900,000 Ohio veterans (in addition to millions of other Ohio residents) who were not included in the GOP’s bill. [Note: An Ohio court just ruled in favor of the administration's position, but the Ohio Secretary of State insisted he would defy the court order to open the polls.]</p><p><strong>6.</strong> Mitt Romney’s problems with his financial records are well known. He continues to refuse to release more than two years of his tax returns even as more evidence comes out that he has engaged in shenanigans involving <a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/08/investigating-mitt-romney-offshore-accounts">off-shore banks and other tax avoidance schemes.</a> Nevertheless, Romney had the audacity to address a group of donors and complain about big businesses that “save money by putting various things in the places where there are low-tax havens around the world.” Apparently that’s only acceptable for wealthy presidential candidates.</p><p><strong>7.</strong> Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Mitt Romney says yes. The key issue of the Romney campaign from its inception has been his contention that the economy is in dismal shape and that it’s the president’s fault. Romney has said on numerous occasions that Obama may have inherited a troubled economy, but he made it worse. However, when asked by radio host Laura Ingraham about improving economic indicators, he said, “Well, of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after a recession.” Ingraham was stunned and gave Romney a second shot noting that he wasn’t helping his argument. Romney held firm saying, “Have you got a better one, Laura? It just happens to be the truth.” Soon after, Romney went back to falsely accusing Obama of making things worse.</p><p><strong>8.</strong> While running for the GOP nomination for president in 2007, Romney was asked by reporters if he agreed with comments by then-candidate Obama that if Osama bin Laden were discovered in Pakistan he would take action if the Pakistanis did not. Romney responded, “I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours.” Earlier this year, on the anniversary of the death of bin Laden (who was killed by American Special Forces in Pakistan), Romney diminished President Obama's role by claiming, “Anybody would have made that call.” Well…not just anybody.</p><p><strong>9</strong>. Romney was a vocal opponent of the auto industry bailout orchestrated by the Obama administration. He famously wrote an op-ed for the <em>New York Times</em> with the title "<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19romney.html?_r=1" target="_blank">Let Detroit Go Bankrupt</a>." Fast-forward a couple of years to a newly profitable and growing automobile industry and we find that Romney has shifted his position. Today he not only claims he supported the bailout, but he considers himself responsible for its success. He told ABC News that “I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.” That’s a little like Pontius Pilate taking credit for Jesus coming back.</p><p><strong>10. </strong>When Romney ran for the senate in Massachusetts in 1994, he <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=7310" target="_blank">claimed to support abortion rights</a> and punctuated his commitment to that position with a story about a close relative who died as the result of an illegal abortion. In a debate with his opponent, Ted Kennedy, Romney referenced his family’s loss and said “It is since that time that my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that.” So Romney once made an unwavering commitment never to force his beliefs on others, but now he’s pushing for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. Is he through with grieving now? Is he comfortable with the grief that other families will suffer if his promise to repeal <em>Roe v. Wade</em> is fulfilled?</p><p>Hypocrisy and the Republican Party have never been separated by much The GOP was the originator of the healthcare insurance mandate, but flipped to opposing it after it was proposed by a Democratic president. The GOP supported the DREAM Act until Obama put it on the legislative agenda. Cap and trade was a GOP innovation. And the war hawks of the Republican right – Bush, Cheney, Rove, Boehner, Bolton, Limbaugh, Hannity, Kristol, Beck, et al. – never saw a day of combat. Mitt Romney, after protesting in favor of the draft to send other kids to Vietnam, avoided service via his Mormon missionary work in Paris, and received multiple academic deferments.</p><p>The lies that have been so freely disseminated by the right are a serious impediment to democracy. But the GOP's hypocrisy is just as thickly applied and just as deceitful. It is emblematic of the character (or lack thereof) of the Republican Party.</p> Fri, 07 Sep 2012 07:35:00 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 706557 at http://ww.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics romney gop republicans The 8 Worst Examples of Fox News Election Journalism Malpractice (In Just 8 Weeks) http://ww.alternet.org/election-2012/8-worst-examples-fox-news-election-journalism-malpractice-just-8-weeks <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Fox spinners disseminate brazenly dishonest propaganda without shame or fear of reprisal.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/images/managed/media_foxattacksobama.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>With the election season fully in bloom, the aroma of deceit and desperation is growing more pungent by the hour. Mitt Romney, the <a href="http://www.crasscommerce.com/product_info.php?cPath=23&amp;products_id=414" target="_blank">Original Bankster</a>, continues to be evasive about his international business affairs, and he refuses to release more than a single year of tax returns in order to quell speculation. His electoral prospects have not been noticeably enhanced with the addition of Wisconsin congressman and right-wing extremist Paul Ryan to the ticket. So, the GOP PR machine (aka Fox News) has swung into action an an attempt to cauterize the wounds and manufacture some positive spin on behalf of the Republican standard bearers.</p><p>The most effective contribution of the Fox spinners is their expertise in disseminating brazenly dishonest propaganda without shame or fear of reprisal. They construct fabrications that benefit their patrons and broadcast them to an audience that is so undiscriminating they’ll watch Sean Hannity more than once. Since the majority of rational news consumers will never see much of what Fox works so hard to invent, we have complied a list of some of the most dishonest moments so far in the 2012 election cycle. (Note: in order to pare this list down to a manageable length, it has been limited to just the past eight weeks. There's only so much bandwidth on the Internet.)</p><p><strong>1) President Obama Did Not Call Mitt Romney a Felon</strong></p><p>Mitt Romney claims that he had ceased to be involved with Bain Capital in 1999, although his signature on SEC documents affirms that he was shareholder and CEO as late as 2002. Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, pointed out that Romney must have lied on either the SEC forms or his public statements that contradict them. Fox News turned that into an accusation by Obama that Romney is a felon. However, there is a big difference between calling someone a felon and simply noting that if one were to commit a felony he would be a felon, which is all that Cutter had done. But Fox is not inclined to miss an opportunity to invent a controversy where none actually exists.</p><p><strong>2) Fox News Built That</strong></p><p>In a <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/13/remarks-president-campaign-event-roanoke-virginia" target="_blank">speech to supporters</a> in Virginia, President Obama praised the hard work of individuals and businesses while also noting the collective value of American investment in economic prosperity. Fox News plucked this out-of-context soundbite from the speech: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” What Fox deliberately left out was that Obama was referring to public services like teachers and police, and to infrastructure like roads and bridges that contribute to the success of all businesses. It’s a position that Romney himself has taken. However, Fox News blew this distortion up into such a frenzy that the Romney campaign adopted it and now the Fox-built fallacy is the theme for the GOP convention in Tampa. (Note: The GOP convention is being held in the Tampa Bay Forum, a facility that was built with mostly public funds.)</p><p>The tactic of taking quotes out of context has always been a favorite of the Fox News gang. They did precisely the same thing with remarks Obama made about the economy (the private sector is doing fine) and his record in office (we tried our plan and it worked). In both cases Fox left out critical language surrounding these remarks, which reveals just how purposefully dishonest the Fox News team is.</p><p><strong>3) The Swift-Boating Of President Obama</strong></p><p>Fox News has proudly announced the commencement of a swiftboat campaign against President Obama. The organization set up to carry out the assault is described as a "group of former U.S. intelligence and Special Forces operatives,” but in reality is a <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/special-ops-group-attacks-obama-over-bin-laden-011757844.html" target="_blank">partisan assembly</a> of Republicans and professional Obama haters. The Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund (SOOEF) plans to produce and distribute videos and advertisements that will criticize Obama for “taking credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden.” This is an archetypical implementation of swiftboating whose purpose is to spread lies about what is being presented as a key achievement of Obama’s leadership as Commander-in-Chief.</p><p>SOOEF's assertions that Obama has improperly heralded himself for the demise of bin Laden are demonstrably false. Their video features gross misrepresentations of Obama’s statements on the subject that loop portions of his speech referencing himself, but leaves out his abundant praise for the military and intelligence operatives who carried out the mission. The opening line of the president’s address to the nation announcing that bin Laden was dead explicitly stated that “the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.” He went on to thank “the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome,” and he praised “the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country.”</p><p>Whatever we think about the politics and ethics of the assasination, it's obvious that Fox is primarily interested in misrepresenting the president's role in a desperate attempt to keep the militarism mantle for Republicans. </p><p>Little of the president's statement was in the SOOEF video, which Fox has featured in numerous broadcasts. What’s more, Fox actually uses the term "swiftboating” to describe the anti-Obama campaign. Either it has completely given up on trying to pretend that it is a “fair and balanced” news enterprise (which no one believes anyway), or it doesn't know that swiftboating means lying.</p><p><strong>4) Fox Nation Ignores Polls By CNN, Reuters and — Fox News</strong></p><p>Virtually every time a new poll on presidential politics is released Fox News will make a point to publish the results – so long as the poll shows Obama losing. In a <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=7751" target="_blank">particularly egregious example</a> of this bias earlier this month, Fox prominently reported on a poll by the right-wing Rasmussen operation that placed Mitt Romney in the lead 47-43. What Fox neglected to report was that there were three other polls released at the same time that all put Obama ahead. And the most striking part of this omission was that one of the polls Fox declined to cover was conducted by Fox News itself -- and it put Obama ahead of Romney by 9 points.</p><p>Fox couldn’t even bring itself to report on its own poll conducted by its own pollsters. That’s the sort of biased cherry-picking that is the hallmark of Fox’s “news” charade. And it’s a crystal clear message to pollsters from Fox: If you want to be covered, you better say what we like. And that goes for Fox’s pollsters as well.</p><p><strong>5) Welfare-To-Work Rules Were Not Weakened By Obama Administration</strong></p><p>The Romney campaign recently accused Obama of directing his administration to relax the welfare-to-work provisions of Bill Clinton’s welfare reform bill. That accusation is directly refuted by the facts. What Obama did was to permit waivers for states that could affirm their progress in moving people from welfare to work, and allowing them flexibility to enhance their programs. It’s a modification that Romney himself had requested when he was governor of Massachusetts. Nevertheless, Fox News picked up the accusation and ran with it. In every segment on the subject it portrayed the issue precisely as Romney had framed it despite every factchecking operation concluding that Romney’s charges were entirely false.</p><p>Speaking of factchecking, Romney has been <a href="http://www.politifact.com/personalities/mitt-romney/" target="_blank">rated untruthful</a> 67 times by PolitiFact, and 14 of those were “Pants-on-Fire” lies (including the welfare lie). In fact, 43% of PolitiFact’s findings on statements by Romney are rated as untruthful. He’s downright pathological, but Fox has not yet reported that fact.</p><p><strong>6) Obama Did Not 'Sell Amnesty' For $465</strong></p><p>After Obama issued a directive to the Department of Homeland Security not to advance the deportation of young immigrants who had been brought to this country by their parents and who had demonstrated achievement in school or the military, there was a rush of dishonest reporting from Fox News that Obama was placating lawbreakers and opening our borders to criminals, drug traffickers and terrorists. None of that was true. News reports from objective sources correctly noted that the beneficiaries of the program had broken no laws and that the public overwhelmingly supported the president’s plan.</p><p>After the initial drama subsided, Fox News decided to take another stab at promoting its false narrative. It began running reports alleging that Obama was “selling amnesty” to illegal aliens. What Fox was grossly misrepresenting was that the program had an application fee to help offset its costs. One would think that deficit-minded conservatives would approve of that fiscal responsibility. </p><p><strong>7) Soldiers Were Not Prevented From Voting In Ohio</strong></p><p>The issue of voter suppression has been a major factor in this year's election contests. In states across the country Republicans have been working strenuously to reduce early voting availability and impose unreasonable identification requirements that serve to disenfranchise mostly voters who are minorities, seniors, students, and low-income. Perhaps the worst example of distorting the issue occurred when Fox News accused the Obama administration of seeking to trample on the voting rights of people in the military.</p><p>The actual story is that Republicans in the state of Ohio passed a bill that reduced early voting for everyone in the state except the military. The Obama Justice Department contested the move, arguing that the same early voting privileges should be available to all Ohio voters. The Obama administration was actually advocating for <em>expanding</em> voting rights for everyone, including veterans who would have been excluded under the GOP bill. The characterization by Fox News was 180% opposite of the truth.</p><p><strong>8) Fox News Reports Lie About Obama Birth Certificate</strong></p><p>In a <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=7612" target="_blank">stunning piece of journalistic malpractice</a>, Fox News reported assertions that Obama’s birth certificate was “definitely fraudulent.” The remarks were from Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, and while they were correctly attributed, nowhere in the article did Fox note that the birth certificate had been authenticated and that every credible source agrees that it is valid. The only references to the birth certificate’s authenticity were framed as merely “claims.” </p><p>This is a necessarily abridged collection of Fox falsehoods. There are far too many more to list here. But in the last eight weeks Fox News has disseminated some glaring whoppers in an attempt to prop up the flailing Romney campaign. Expect this to continue through the upcoming conventions and straight through to November. When you are supporting a candidate who refuses to reveal his taxes, his business history, or even his proposed policies, all you have left is what you can make up.</p> Tue, 28 Aug 2012 00:00:00 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 700110 at http://ww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 fox news election conservatives gop romney obama What Is Fox News Latino? The Network's Shameless Ploy to Both Pander to and Demonize Hispanics http://ww.alternet.org/story/156353/what_is_fox_news_latino_the_network%27s_shameless_ploy_to_both_pander_to_and_demonize_hispanics <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">How do they maintain their editorial animosity toward immigrants without alienating an increasingly important voter group?</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/images/managed/storyimages_1342550032_screenshot20120717at2.33.14pm.png" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p> <span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; ">The reputation of Fox News as a brazenly biased, right-wing, mouthpiece for the Republican Party and a conservative agenda is well-established. From their upper-management (Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes) to their frontline pundits, they have forged a network that has entirely abandoned any pretense of impartiality.</span></p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> That well-honed partisan prejudice has proven to be useful in poisoning the political discourse. Fox News has exploited their audience to favor GOP candidates and sway perceptions of complex issues like health care, economics, and the environment. Amongst the most prominent of the issues that Fox has sought to distort is immigration. Their reporting is relentless in falsely portraying immigrants as shiftless lawbreakers who steal jobs from American citizens and drain the nation of scarce public resources.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> Fox viewers are accustomed to stories about <em>“illegals”</em> swarming across the border to take up residency in the U.S. and sponge off of our prosperity. They are vilified as criminals and blamed for everything from disease to the recession. There is hardly a mention of immigrants on Fox that isn’t associated with drunkenness, joblessness, or drug cartels.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> Lately, however, someone at Fox News has recognized a major flaw in their strategy to demonize immigrants, particularly Latinos. One of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population happens to be legal Latinos who are either naturalized or natural-born citizens. The <a href="http://2010.census.gov/news/releases/operations/cb11-cn146.html" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">U.S. Census bureau reports</a> that the Hispanic population grew at about four times the nation’s average growth rate between 2000 and 2010. The report notes that <em>“the Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010 and accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million.”</em></p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> The problem for Fox News, and their ideological benefactors, is that many are citizens who can vote and are registering in record numbers. This is particularly noticeable in states that are crucial for Republican electoral victories like Nevada, Arizona, and Florida. But the trend is evident in some measure throughout the country.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> This situation poses a disconcerting problem for Fox. How do they maintain their editorial animosity toward immigrants without alienating an increasingly important voter group? The answer appears to be by developing news content specifically for this demographic and sequestering it from the rest of their viewership.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> First to appear in this vein was the Fox News Latino web site. It is an English language adjunct to the Fox News site with content aimed directly at the Latino reader. However, the treatment of news events on Fox News Latino is markedly different from that on Fox News. Here are a few typical examples:</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> <strong>June 15, 2012:</strong> In response to President Obama’s announcement of a policy shift wherein certain young immigrants would be granted work permits rather than be deported, the Fox News Latino web site posted a story headlined,<em>“Obama Administration Halts Deportations for Young Immigrants.”</em> That’s a factually accurate description that treats the news in a neutral manner. The headline was accompanied by a sympathetic photo of a young Latina child draped with an American flag.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> However, on Fox Nation they went with the headline <em>“Obama Administration Bypasses Congress, To Give Immunity, Stop Deporting Younger Illegals.”</em> In that short sentence they managed to imply impropriety on the part of the administration, infer the controversial subject of amnesty, and insult Latinos by employing the dehumanizing label of<em>“illegals”</em> (even though the people affected by this initiative did not break any law). The photo accompanying this article was of adult Latinos sitting up against a wall in handcuffs.</p> <center style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> <img alt="Fox Nation Bias" /></center> <br style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; " /><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> It is also notable that the Fox News Latino site posted the Associated Press article about the announcement in full. The Fox Nationalists posted only two paragraphs plus a video from Fox News of right-wing wacko Allen West expressing his outrage. This is further evidence that the Fox Nationalists want to avoid giving their dimwitted readers too much actual information, but prefer to throw up as much ultra-right-wing opinion as possible.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> <strong>June 19, 2012:</strong> Bloomberg released a poll that showed that 64 percent of likely voters favor Obama’s policy on suspending deportations of certain younger immigrants. Note that this substantial majority is of <em>“likely”</em> voters, not just Latino voters. So the story has relevance to a wide range of news viewers and could even be an important predictor of who will win the presidency in November. Nevertheless, Fox News did not run this story. Fox Nation did not run this story. The only Fox destination where you can read this story is on Fox News Latino. So Fox is deliberately hiding from the rest of their audience the news that a substantial majority of Americans agree with this policy.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> What’s more, the tone of the reporting is distinctly different from that on other Fox properties. There isn’t a hint of hostility toward immigrants. The story accurately refers to <em>“prosecutorial discretion”</em> as the means of carrying out the policy, rather than the false assertions of Executive Orders or dictatorial overreach that appear on Fox News. The derogatory phrase <em>“illegals,”</em> used routinely on Fox News, is nowhere in the story, having been replaced by<em>“undocumented</em><em>immigrant.”</em> The story notes correctly that Congress, not the President, had dropped the ball on the DREAM Act and that it was Republicans who filibustered it out of existence. These are news insights that will never be seen by the broader Fox audience unless they happen to read Fox News Latino.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> <strong>June 25, 2012:</strong> Fox News covered the Supreme Court ruling on the controversial Arizona law against undocumented immigrants in its uniquely racist way by tailoring the story differently to different audiences. On Fox News Latino the headline accurately reported that the <em>“Court Strikes Down Most of AZ Immig Law.”</em> However, on Fox Nation they went with the misleading, <em>“U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Controversial Part of Tough Arizona Immigration Law.”</em> Even Fox News was more balanced by saying that the <em>“Supreme Court Reigns In Arizona On Immigration.”</em></p> <center style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> <img alt="Fox News Bias" /></center> <br style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; " /><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> Here we have one arm of Fox reporting that the law was struck down, and another arm saying it was upheld. So once again Fox panders to their Latino audience on the web site aimed at them, while slanting steeply in the opposite direction on Fox Nation, a community of such rancid bigotry that Fox had to close the comments section for fear of the vile postings that frequently occur. Obviously, Fox knows its audience.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> <strong>July 8, 2012:</strong> The Fox News Latino web site featured an article <a href="http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/07/08/v-lite/2208300/tough-id-laws-could-block-thousands.html" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">from the Associated Press</a> on the issue of voter suppression that was reported in a manner that respects the truth. The author correctly notes that instances of in-person voter fraud are nearly non-existent, but that the <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=6916" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">photo-ID laws advanced by Republicans</a> will disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> On Fox News the typical approach to this story is the ludicrous assertion that opponents of ID laws are proponents of fraud, even though they can never cite actual incidents of fraud. The purpose is obvious. Fox News is working in concert with the GOP to purge Democrats from the voter rolls. However, on Fox’s Latino-focused web site the story is completely different. It is treated with the proper attention to the harm that would befall Latino voters.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> In addition to the Fox News Latino web site, Fox <a href="http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/coming-soon-fox-news-en-espanol_b128985" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">recently announced</a> that they are launching a new Spanish language broadcast television network, MundoFox. The network will feature both entertainment and news programming, but their initial press release states that they <em>“will not have any association with Fox News Channel.”</em> It also quotes the Senior VP of news, Jorge Mettey, describing the type of viewer they intend to attract in a particularly derogatory light:</p> <blockquote style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> <p> “We are not focusing on the regular normal issues that newscasts in Spanish focus on, like immigration and that stuff. It is not our focus. We are talking to a different Latino. We are not talking to victims. We are talking to successful people eager to improve their lives.”</p></blockquote> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> Apparently Mettey regards <em>“regular normal”</em> Latinos as victims who are uninterested in improving their lives, and he doesn’t want any of <em>“them”</em> watching his network. MundoFox is getting off to a great start by insulting a fair portion of their potential audience. This aggressive posturing is actually typical of the way Fox has launched all of their networks. When announcing Fox News as being <em>“fair and balanced”</em> they were implying that the other networks were not merely competitors, but that they were untrustworthy. When they launched the Fox Business Network they bragged that <em>“a Fox channel would be ‘more business-friendly’ than CNBC.”</em> Although it doesn’t really make much sense for a network that is supposed to be reporting objectively, for the benefit of people making investment decisions, to declare that they intend for their coverage to be friendly.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> It is also notable that Mettey, has a somewhat checkered past. He was fired from his position as news director at KMEX in 2007, amidst allegations of ethical breaches. The <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2007/oct/04/business/fi-univision4" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " target="_blank">Los Angeles Times reported</a> that…</p> <blockquote style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> <p> “The alleged improprieties investigated included whether Mettey had benefited financially from coverage of Puebla’s governor at a time when he was being criticized for his association with an accused pedophile and of an African-themed zoo in Puebla in which Mettey’s wife, Denise, has an ownership interest. In addition, the news division allegedly accepted free tickets on an Aeromexico flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Puebla.”</p></blockquote> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> With the expansion into the Latino community, Fox is reaching out to connect with a new audience. In the process they are conducting themselves in an uncharacteristically fair and balanced manner. Make no mistake, there are good reasons for this atypical behavior on the part of Fox. Roger Ailes, Fox News CEO, was a Republican strategist and media consultant before launching Fox with Rupert Murdoch. Ailes knows that Republicans have a demographics problem as Latinos continue to grow as a percentage of the population and, therefore, the electorate. The Tea Party dominated GOP can’t see past their prejudices and frothing immigrant hatred. But Ailes knows that if the party doesn’t win back some Latino support they will be a minority party for decades to come.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.727272033691406px; "> So with Fox News Latino and MundoFox, Ailes is doing for the party what they are too stupid to do for themselves – pandering to the Latino vote. They think they can segregate the reporting so that their Latino audience will see stories that are framed positively, while the rest of the Fox universe remains steeped in the animus of bigots and conservative partisans. It’s a cynical ploy that could only be hatched by people who think that Latinos are stupid enough to fall for it. Fortunately, that’s where Fox is most likely going to be proved wrong.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Thu, 19 Jul 2012 14:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 671712 at http://ww.alternet.org News & Politics fox fox news 10 Dumbest Members of Congress http://ww.alternet.org/story/155545/10_dumbest_members_of_congress <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">A new study finds that Congress speaks at almost a full grade level lower than it did seven years ago. Meet the 10 conservatives dragging down their collective intelligence.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The Sunlight Foundation just released the <a href="http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2012/05/21/grade-level-congress/" target="_blank">results of a study</a> measuring the scholastic grade level of speeches made by members of Congress. The scale uses the Flesch-Kincaid test and is based on the length of words and sentences used. Among its findings are, “Congress now speaks at almost a full grade level lower than it did just seven years ago, with the most conservative members of Congress speaking on average at the lowest grade level.” The study further found that it is the “most extreme members” who speak at the lowest grade levels, as well as the most junior.</p> <p>As you may remember, a major turning point in American politics was the 2010 election that saw a wave of new Tea Party Republicans elected to Congress. Of the 20 lowest scoring members, 17 were Republicans, and 12 of those are in their first term of office. You have to go down to 15th place before you find a Democrat.</p> <p>There are varying perspectives from which to interpret this study. On the surface it could be viewed as evidence that the intellectual capacity of the Congress is declining, thanks to the new Tea Party members who speak in short bursts of small words. That would be consistent with their shallow grasp of most issues and their tendency to reduce every discussion to a battle between liberty and socialism (drilling everywhere = liberty; clean air = socialism).</p> <p>On the other hand, it could be said that concise expression makes communication more effective and accessible. So the fact that members of Congress are speaking at lower grade levels may be an indication of either creeping ignorance or enhanced manipulation. If this language analysis isn't the perfect measure of intelligence or effectiveness in government, let's take a look at some of the things the 10 lowest scoring members in the study have actually said and done, and judge them on that.</p> <p><b>1. Mick Mulvaney, R-SC: </b>Mulvaney is the co-author of the Cut, Cap and Balance bill that has been at the center of the debate on raising the debt ceiling. The bill would impose stiff reductions, mostly to programs that fund economic growth and aid to the poor. It would also cap spending for entitlement programs and call for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. Mulvaney is one of those extremists who would rather see the U.S. default on its debts and suffer a credit rating downgrade than reform the tax code to be more equitable and stop favoring the wealthy.</p> <p><strong>2. Rob Woodall, R-GA:</strong> Woodall once advised a constituent on Medicare that she should reject the government-provided plan and secure her health insurance on the private market. However, when asked why he refused to reject the health plan provided to him by Congress he said simply, “Because it’s free.” Then, to cement the impression that he is focused solely on his own welfare and special privileges for congressmen, he was one of only two votes against the STOCK Act that prohibited members of Congress from engaging in insider trading.</p> <p><strong>3. Rand Paul, R-KY:</strong> The son of cranky Libertarian Ron Paul, Rand is such a strong advocate of the free market that he opposes the parts of the Civil Rights Act that prohibit businesses from engaging in discrimination. He believes so firmly in personal responsibility that he wanted to let BP off the hook after its oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and flooding the Gulf with toxins. He called criticism of BP “really un-American.” More recently, he said of Obama’s support for same-sex marriage, “Call me cynical, but I didn’t think his views on marriage could get any gayer.”</p> <p><strong>4. Sean Duffy, R-WI:</strong> At a town hall meeting in Wisconsin, Duffy was asked whether he’d vote to cut his $174,000 congressional salary. He proceeded to whine about how $174,000 really isn’t that much: “I guarantee that I have more debt than all of you. With six kids, I still pay off my student loans. I still pay my mortgage.” Sounds like he could benefit from Obama’s proposals to reform mortgage and student loan debt.</p> <p><strong>5. Tim Griffin, R-AR:</strong> A few years ago there was a scandal in Bush’s Justice Department when it was revealed that they fired several U.S. Attorneys for political reasons. Then, to make matters worse, they filled the vacancies with cronies and partisan patrons. One of those terminated was the U.S. Attorney in Arkansas. His hand-picked replacement was a Karl Rove protege named Tim Griffin.</p> <p><strong>6. Todd Akin, R-MO:</strong> Last year Akin appeared on the radio program of Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. That would ordinarily be enough to dismiss him as a fringe-dweller, but Akin took the opportunity to broadcast his opinion that, “The heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God.” Akin was also the sponsor of a bill to prohibit courts from hearing legal challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance – an ironic attempt to unconstitutionally elevate Congress over the judiciary in order to suppress “liberty and justice for all.”</p> <p><strong>7. Vicky Hartzler, R-MO:</strong> Like many Tea Party Republicans, Hartzler has expressed doubts about Obama’s citizenship. When questioned about the birth certificate the president released she said, “You know, I have a lot of doubts about all that. But I don’t know, I haven’t seen it.” She also opposes same-sex marriage with the old slippery slope argument that associates it with polygamy and pedophilia. She asks, “Why not allow one man and two women or three women to marry? [...] Why not allow a 50-year-old man to marry a 12-year-old girl if they love each other and they are committed?”</p> <p><strong>8. Tom Graves, R-GA:</strong> Graves’ obsession with limiting government is so severe that he voted against bills that would provide organizations that work with children easier access to a federal database so they could screen job applicants for criminal records. But then his grasp of legislation is somewhat faulty. With regard to funding for oil subsidies, he declared them to be a “manipulation of the marketplace” shortly after voting twice to extend them.</p> <p><strong>9. David Schweikert, R-AZ:</strong> Perhaps the poster child for this list is Rep. Schweikert, who was asked a question about the health insurance mandate provision in the Affordable Care Act, and whether he thought it was fair that prior to the ACA someone could incur medical expenses but not pay for them, raising the cost of health care for everyone else. He responded, “You have the right as an American to be dumb.” And he is fully exercising his rights.</p> <p><strong>10. Ron Johnson, R-WI:</strong> Johnson has been a harsh critic of the government stimulus bills. But somehow that didn’t stop him from seeking stimulus funds for renovations to the Grand Opera House when he was president of the venue’s board. His explanation when asked to justify the apparent hypocrisy was that “he may have asked a question or two, but that doesn’t mean he supports the stimulus effort or even wanted the money.” Of course not. He was just curious to see if they would hand over the cash, which he would have promptly returned.</p> <p>***</p> <p>The question of whether or not a low score is indicative of low intelligence is still open. Republican pollster and word doctor Frank Luntz spins the results by contending, “It’s not an issue of dumbing it down; it’s an issue of cleaning it up.” But that interpretation only seems to be applicable for Republicans who score poorly. It's also pure Luntzian meme surgery from the man who calls clear-cutting, "healthy forests."<span style="line-height: 6px;"><br /></span></p> <div class="adL">These 10 members of Congress, who grace the bottom of the list, were rated as speaking at seventh- to eighth-grade levels (scoring between 7.95 and 8.62). Eight of them are first-term Tea Partiers. Is it a coincidence that their work in office reflects the arrogance, selfishness and resistance to compromise and teamwork that sometimes accompanies the immaturity of youth?  </div> <div class="adL"><p><em>Full disclosure: This article scored 10.35 on the Flesch-Kincaid scale</em>.</p> </div> <p> </p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Tue, 22 May 2012 20:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 670894 at http://ww.alternet.org The Right Wing The Right Wing government tea party rand paul 10 Constituent Groups Mitt Romney Would Screw Over http://ww.alternet.org/story/155146/10_constituent_groups_mitt_romney_would_screw_over <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Romney&#039;s policies, if enacted, will punish a broad spectrum of Americans from almost every possible constituent group.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/images/managed/storyimages_1326073844_screenshot20120108at8.50.11pm.png" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Last week President Obama delivered a speech in which he reminded his audience that everyone who succeeds in America has done so with the help of other Americans. We are all mutually dependent on the resources and civic projects that keep this country humming. The president made the point that even he was a beneficiary of the social and economic collective advancement that’s historically been a part of our nation’s framework. He noted that “Somebody gave me an education. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Michelle wasn’t. But somebody gave us a chance.” </p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); ">However, in the past few decades, something changed in our country. As Dylan Ratigan says in his book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1451642229?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=newscorpsecom-20&amp;linkCode=xm2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creativeASIN=1451642229" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); ">Greedy Bastards</a>,</p> <blockquote style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><p>“[S]omething has gone wrong in America. For the last few decades, the rising tide has been lifting only the yachts. Almost anywhere you look, if you just open your eyes, you will see ordinary, hardworking people struggling. Not far away you’ll find a few greedy bastards making out like bandits. What defines greedy bastards? It’s not merely that they’re rich. [...] Greedy bastards have given up on creating value for others and instead get their money by rigging the game so that they can steal from the rest of us.”</p></blockquote> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); ">That’s the heart, and what passes for the soul of Mitt Romney, who somehow extracted an interpretation of the president’s words which led to this absurd criticism: “This is a president more intent on punishing people than he is on building our economy.”</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); ">Even a cursory examination of the facts makes it clear that it is Romney who is The Punisher. His policies, if enacted, will punish a broad spectrum of Americans from almost every possible constituent group. For instance:</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>1. Women. </strong>Despite telling representatives of Planned Parenthood that he supported <em>Roe v. Wade</em> when he was running for governor of Massachusetts, he now says he believes that life begins at conception and that the historic Supreme Court ruling should be overturned. And while the healthcare plan he implemented as governor included coverage for abortions and contraception, he is now fervently opposed to such coverage. He has also expressed his opposition to the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilly_Ledbetter_Fair_Pay_Act_of_2009" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); ">Lilly Ledbetter Act</a> that Obama signed in order to assist women seeking equal pay and relief from workplace discrimination.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>2. The Poor. </strong>Earlier this year Romney famously declared that he is "not concerned about the very poor [because] We have a safety net there." Clearly Romney has never had to avail himself of the services provided to those reliant on the safety net, or he might be a little more concerned. He might also not have <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/01/romneys-plan-100-tax-hike-for-the-poor-100-000-tax-cut-for-the-rich/250947/" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); ">developed a tax plan</a> that would further cut taxes for the wealthy while raising them for lower-income citizens.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>3. Workers. </strong>Once again, Romney let his true feelings be known when he gushed that he “like[s] being able to fire people.” That being the case, it is no wonder that he regards unions as impediments to his goals. He <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/26/nation/la-na-romney-labor-20120226" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); ">blames unions</a> for many of the nation’s economic problems and promised a policy to forbid union preferences in federal contracting beginning on his inauguration day.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>4. Gays and Lesbians. </strong>Romney is adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage and open homosexuality in the armed services. This is another position that conflicts with his record in Massachusetts, where in 1994 he campaigned for a senate seat saying that he would be even an stronger advocate of gay rights than Ted Kennedy.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>5. Auto Companies/Employees. </strong>Romney considers Michigan, where his father was once governor, one of his many home states. Nevertheless, he was so against a stimulus package for the auto industry that he publicly stated his preference that it should be allowed to go bankrupt. The stimulus was provided by the Obama administration and today GM has retaken its position as the number-one car manufacturer in the world. That was achieved with no help from Romney who even traveled around the country giving speeches disparaging the company’s products, particularly the Chevy Volt which now receives high praise from industry experts and consumers.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>6. Latinos. </strong>Romney has staked out an extremist position on immigration that will not endear him to Latinos. He has called Arizona’s SB1070, a law that nearly criminalizes having brown skin, “a model for the nation." Romney opposes <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DREAM_Act" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); ">the DREAM Act</a> that would establish residency for immigrants who came to the United States as children and then served in the military or completed college. But a Romney administration would expect these people, and all immigrants, to self-deport.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>7. Seniors. </strong>If you are 65 years old, or ever expect to be, Romney is intent on making your golden years somewhat less shiny. He advocates raising the retirement age to be eligible for Social Security benefits. He supports moving funds into private accounts that would fluctuate with the uncertainties of the stock market. And he has proposed tying increases to the Consumer Price Index rather than the Wage Index, which would significantly undercut the purchasing power of seniors dependent on a fixed income.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>8. Anyone Who Cares About Civil Liberties. </strong>For anyone concerned about the rights granted by Supreme Court decisions, Romney carries a frighteningly extreme portfolio. He has said he would nominate more judges like Roberts, Alito and Scalia to the bench. Even more disturbing, he recently brought on Robert Bork as his new top legal adviser. Bork was the man behind the “Saturday Night Massacre” in which two Justice Department leaders resigned rather than fire the special prosecutor investigating Watergate. It was Bork who stayed and carried out Nixon’s orders. Bork also once called the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “a principle of unsurpassed ugliness.”</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>9. Residents of</strong> <strong>Earth</strong>. Three words: Drill, baby, drill. Romney is a staunch advocate of exploiting fossil fuels on land and at sea. He is a critic of off-shore oil bans and a supporter of the KeystoneXL pipeline that risks contaminating groundwater in order to enrich refineries that intend to ship the oil products overseas. Although he has said he believes in global warming and that it may be caused by human activity, he is opposed to addressing the problem with regulations he believes would impair economic growth. Because economic growth is more important than having a planet on which to grow.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>10. Dogs. </strong>Just ask Seamus, the poor Irish setter who was forced to ride in a cage on the roof of the family station wagon for a 600-mile road trip.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); ">Mitt Romney has a resume and an agenda that promises pain for average Americans. He would increase the financial burdens of the poor, reduce the protection of agencies that monitor everything from Wall Street to toxins in foods. He respects only wealth, and consequently, has assembled a program that could be called Trickle-Down on Steroids. Yet he has the audacity to accuse President Obama of wanting to punish people simply because the president’s plan asks billionaires to pay a few percentage points more on their wildly extravagant income.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); ">Romney thinks it’s punishment to return to the tax rates of the '90s when the economy was booming, but he can’t comprehend the punishment of millions of families losing their homes, thousands of students losing their grants, innumerable sick people unable to get necessary treatment, or communities across the nation being exploited by greedy corporations and politicians like Romney. In Romney’s world it is better to protect one American millionaire than a million Americans. It’s the code of the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1451642229?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=newscorpsecom-20&amp;linkCode=xm2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creativeASIN=1451642229" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); ">Greedy Bastards</a>.</p> <p> </p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Wed, 25 Apr 2012 08:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 670547 at http://ww.alternet.org News & Politics The Right Wing romney rich Fox News Shamelessly Smears Group That Exposed Network's Sordid History http://ww.alternet.org/story/154269/fox_news_shamelessly_smears_group_that_exposed_network%27s_sordid_history <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Media Matters&#039; new book has been met by shameless propaganda by Fox news.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>A new book from Media Matters is being released this week that chronicles the history of Fox News, explaining how a small group of wealthy, politically connected partisans conspired to build a pseudo-news network with the intent of advancing the right-wing agenda of the Republican Party.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307279588/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=newscorpsecom-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0307279588"><em>The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine</em></a>, was written by David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt (and others) of Media Matters. It begins by looking back at the early career of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and his role as a media consultant for Republican politicians, including former president Richard Nixon. From the start, Ailes was a brash, creative proponent of the power of television to influence a mass audience. He guided the media-challenged Nixon through a treacherous new era of news and political PR, and his experiences formed the basis for what would become his life’s grand achievement: a “news” network devoted to a political party, its candidates, and its platform.</p> <p>When Ailes partnered with international newspaper mogul Rupert Murdoch to launch a new 24-hour cable news channel, he was given an unprecedented measure of control to shape the network’s business and ideology. <em>The Fox Effect</em> examines the underpinnings of the philosophy that Ailes brought to the venture. His earliest observations exhibit an appreciation for the tabloid-style sensationalism that would become a hallmark of Fox’s reporting. Ailes summed it up in an interview in 1988 as something he called his <em>“</em>orchestra pit theory” of politics:</p> <blockquote> <p>“If you have two guys on stage and one guy says ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls into the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?”</p></blockquote> <p>That’s the sort of thinking that produced Fox’s promotion of hollering town hall protesters during the healthcare debate and their focus on lurid but phony issues like death panels. It is a flavor of journalism that elevates melodrama over factual discourse.</p> <p>The book exposes how Fox was more of a participant in the news than a reporter of it. Through interviews with Fox insiders and leaked internal communications, <em>The Fox Effect</em> documents the depths to which the network collaborated with political partisans to invent stories with the intent of manipulating public opinion. The authors reveal memos from the Washington managing editor of Fox News, Bill Sammon, directing anchors and reporters on how to present certain subjects. For instance, he ordered them never to use the term “public option” when referring to health insurance reform. Focus group testing by Fox pollster Frank Luntz had found that the phrase “government option” left a more negative impression, and they were instructed to use that instead.</p> <p>There is a chapter on the Tea Party that describes how integral Fox was to its inception and development. The network literally branded the fledgling movement as FNC Tea Parties and dispatched its top anchors to host live broadcasts from rallies.</p> <p><em>The Fox Effect</em>also details the extensive coverage devoted to the deceitfully edited videos that brought down ACORN. Fox was instrumental in promoting the story and stirring up a public backlash that resulted in congressional investigations and loss of funding. The book followed the story from Andrew Breitbart’s new and little-known BigGovernment blog to Glenn Beck’s conspiracy factory to the wall-to-wall coverage it enjoyed on Fox’s primetime. This chapter is where the authors introduce what they call the "Six Steps” that Fox employs to create national controversies:</p> <ul><li><strong>STEP 1:</strong> Conservative activists introduce the lie.</li> <li><strong>STEP 2:</strong> Fox News devotes massive coverage to the story.</li> <li><strong>STEP 3:</strong> Fox attacks other outlets for ignoring the controversy.</li> <li><strong>STEP 4:</strong> Mainstream outlets begin reporting on the story.</li> <li><strong>STEP 5:</strong> Media critics, pundits praise Fox News’s coverage.</li> <li><strong>STEP 6:</strong> The story falls apart once the damage has been done.</li> </ul><p>This is a pattern that has played out with varying degrees of success. Fox used this blueprint to engineer the career-ending slander of presidential adviser Van Jones and Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod. But the strategy was less effective when used against Attorney General Eric Holder and Planned Parenthood, although not for lack of effort.</p> <p>These, and other examples of deliberate bias, illustrate why most neutral observers regard Fox News as the PR arm of the Republican Party. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307279588/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=newscorpsecom-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0307279588"><em>The Fox Effect</em></a> makes a convincing case to affirm that view and even offers admissions to that effect by Fox insiders. It is a damning exposé of how a political operative and a right-wing billionaire built a propaganda machine thinly disguised as a news network. The research and documentation are extensive and compelling.</p> <p>Fox News has mounted an unprecedented attack on Media Matters in advance of the book’s release. (Actually it's not so unprecedented. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=4821">Fox set the precedent itself</a> last year with a sustained campaign to do tangible harm by tacking an article to the top of the Fox Nation Web site with a headline that read "Want to File an IRS Complaint Against Media Matters? Click Here.") The week before <em>The Fox Effect</em>was published, Fox News broadcast no fewer than a dozen derogatory segments across all dayparts and on its most popular programs, including The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, Fox &amp; Friends, etc. The attacks never contained any substantive argument or example of error on the part of Media Matters. However, they are brimming with the most nasty form of personal invective imaginable.</p> <p>The basis for the Fox News broadcasts was a series of articles by the Daily Caller (TDC), the conservative Web site of Tucker Carlson, who just happens to also be on the Fox News payroll. The gist of the story, as described by TDC, is that Media Matters is manipulating news organizations, coordinating messaging with the White House, and struggling to cope with the “volatile and erratic behavior” of Brock, whom TDC alleges is mentally ill. TDC never reveals where it got its psychiatric credentials, nor when it had an opportunity to examine and diagnose Brock. Likewise, it never reveals where it got any of the other information for the allegations it makes against Media Matters, as every source is anonymous.</p> <p>Media analysts have universally condemned TDC’s reporting. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.mediaite.com/tv/cnns-howard-kurtz-grills-daily-caller-editor-over-media-matters-investigation/">Howard Kurtz interviewed</a> author Vince Coglianese on CNN’s Reliable Sources and assailed the absence of any evidence to corroborate the allegations of his anonymous sources. Coglianese could not even confirm that events alleged in the article ever occurred. He laughably argued that the absence of a denial from Brock was evidence of guilt, rather than a simple disinclination to raise the profile of a poorly written article. <a target="_blank" href="http://blogs.reuters.com/jackshafer/2012/02/15/media-madders/">Jack Shafer wrote for Reuters</a> that "the Daily Caller is attacking Media Matters with bad journalism and lame propaganda."</p> <p>Media Matters was created to document conservative media bias and work to implement reforms that would produce more balanced reporting. Yet, Fox is confused by the fact that Media Matters’ research is cited by progressive organizations and publishers. The grunt work of aggregating video and other reporting is appreciated by those who use Media Matters materials. Much of it is provided without any editorializing. The right has always been fearful of any entity that would simply record its disinformation, nonsense and hostility, and then hold it accountable. But the right has yet to criticize NewsBusters or its parent organization, the Media Research Center, despite the cozy relationship they have with Fox News. Brit Hume, the former managing editor of Fox News, however, was <a target="_blank" href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=1226">abundantly grateful</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Hume:</strong> I want to say a word, however, of thanks to Brent [Bozell] and the team at the Media Research Center [...] for the tremendous amount of material that the Media Research Center provided me for so many years when I was anchoring Special Report, I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. It was a daily buffet of material to work from, and we certainly made tremendous use of it.</p></blockquote> <p>Joining in on the assault is the Fox Nation Web site, which is engaged in a relentless barrage of critical articles with disturbingly insulting and hyperbolic headlines. For instance:</p> <ul><li>Is Media Matters’ David Brock A ‘Dangerous’ Man?</li> <li>Were Media Matters Donors Duped?</li> <li>Inside Media Matters: Founder Believed to be Regularly Using Illegal Drugs, Including Cocaine.</li> </ul><p>But even those paled in comparison to what Fox News was posting on the screen graphics that accompanied its broadcasts:</p> <ul><li>MEDIA MATTERS’ MONEY: David Brock is an admitted drug user</li> <li>THE MONEY BEHIND THE MACHINE: David Brock committed to a quiet room</li> <li>A LIBERAL INFLUENCE: Brock spent time in a mental ward</li> </ul><center><img alt="Fox News - Media Matters" src="https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&amp;ik=055dd93265&amp;view=att&amp;th=135a757d8f066d42&amp;attid=0.1.1&amp;disp=emb&amp;zw" /></center> <p>Note that the subjects of the broadcasts were financial in nature. Fox was reporting on TDC’s discovery that Media Matters donors were largely progressive individuals and foundations (not exactly what one would call a scoop). However, Fox News appended assertions as to the mental stability of Brock, which had nothing to do with its topic. It was merely an opportunity for it to take swipes at a perceived enemy. </p> <p>In order to cement the impression that David Brock is a mental defective, unfit to lead any organization or to be given serious consideration, Fox News brought in its resident psychoanalyst, "Dr." Keith Ablow. As a part of the Fox News Medical “A” Team, Ablow appeared on the air in a segment that painted Brock as seriously disturbed and even dangerous:</p> <blockquote> <p>“If you are filled with self-loathing you will see demons on every street corner because you project that self-hatred. [...] He’s a dangerous man because having followers and waging war, as he says, or previously being a right-wing hitman, this isn’t accidental language. It’s about violence, destruction, and he feels destroyed in himself.”</p></blockquote> <p>This diagnosis was an invention by Ablow who has never examined Brock, or even met him. That in itself is a violation of the American Psychiatric Association’s <a target="_blank" href="http://bit.ly/oNSJ7G">Principles of Medical Ethics</a>, something Ablow does not need to concern himself with because last year he was compelled to separate himself from the APA due to "ethical differences."</p> <p>This is actually <a target="_blank" href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=4808">the second time</a> Ablow has appeared on Fox News with his absurd fantasies (or projections) about Brock. And Brock isn’t his only pretend patient. A few weeks ago he published an op-ed on FoxNews.com that <a target="_blank" href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=6237">praised Newt Gingrich’s serial infidelity</a> as evidence of traits that would help him to make America stronger were he president. Seriously! And who could forget his <a target="_blank" href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=5908">deranged psychoanalysis of President Obama</a>?</p> <p>I really have to wonder if even the Fox News audience is so intellectually comatose that they wouldn’t recognize the feverish anxiety gushing from Fox in advance of the Media Matters book. So the obvious question is, what is Fox so afraid of? The answer is that Fox News can no longer hide from its reputation as a dishonest purveyor of slanted propaganda and tabloid trash on behalf of a right-wing agenda and the political operatives who advance it and benefit from it.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307279588/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=newscorpsecom-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0307279588"><em>The Fox Effect</em></a> is a thoroughly documented investigation into the inner workings of both the organization and its principle managers and backers. It peels away the layers of the conservative cabal that has so effectively poisoned the public discourse on many significant issues. And like the fraudulent Wizard in the city of Oz, Fox wants us all to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain (Roger Ailes), or to the curtain (Fox News), or the corporation that controls it all (News Corp). To that end Fox has embarked on a massive smear campaign to destroy the credibility of the book, its authors, and the organization that produced it.</p> <p>But Media Matters has already succeeded. As noted in the book’s epilogue:</p> <blockquote> <p>“Fox News will no longer be able to conduct its campaign under the false pretense that the network is a journalistic institution. There is heightened awareness in the progressive community and in the general public of the damage Fox causes.”</p></blockquote> <p>And that is exactly what Fox is afraid of.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Thu, 23 Feb 2012 07:00:01 -0800 Mark Howard, AlterNet 669669 at http://ww.alternet.org Media Media fox fox news murdoch ailes 10 Repulsive Fox News Employees Who Should Be Fired http://ww.alternet.org/story/154159/10_repulsive_fox_news_employees_who_should_be_fired <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Hostility and rabid right-wing advocacy are the hallmarks of Fox’s business model.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/images/managed/storyimages_1329340664_screenshot20120215at4.17.16pm.png" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div class="im" style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">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.</span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">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.</span></p> </div> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); ">By contrast, Fox News contributor Liz Trotta <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=6396">delivered a commentary</a> on Sunday berating women in the military for complaining that they get raped too often. (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 percent, a statistic 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 suggestion that male soldiers are innately rapists and female soldiers should quietly accept assault as a part of military life.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); ">These two examples illustrate the difference 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 its 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.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); ">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 it had to distribute a memo asserting a <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=3917">“Zero Tolerance Policy”</a> and warning 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 meting out discipline, Fox News bent over backward 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, while no longer hosting his own program, appears regularly with Bill O’Reilly and others.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); ">Here is a selection of some of the more obviously repulsive people 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 these weasels enjoy 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 it cultivates and rewards the loyalty of its audience. What other explanation could justify the following?</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>1. Todd Starnes:</strong> Fox News has smeared the Occupy movement from its inception. It has disparaged occupiers as everything from unfocused to unclean to un-American. But it took Starnes, the host of Fox News &amp; 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.</p> <div class="im" style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "><strong>2. Cody Willard:</strong> 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?”</span></p> </div> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>3. Andrew Napolitano:</strong> 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 its 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. All remain active Fox News contributors.)</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>4. Bill Sammon:</strong> 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 fo<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">r termination at most news networks, but probably earned Sammon a bonus at Fox.</span></p> <div class="im" style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "><strong>5. Eric Bolling:</strong> 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.” 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 imprisoned.</span></p> </div> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>6. Bill O’Reilly:</strong> 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 Dr.<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Tiller's actual murder.</span></p> <div class="im" style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "><strong>7. Col. Ralph Peters (Ret):</strong> In a rant arguing that the United States should fight back against its 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 the soldier.</span></p> </div> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>8. Michael Scheuer:</strong> This former CIA analyst was concerned that the American people were not sufficiently afraid of future terrorist attacks. He regards the 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.”</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); "><strong>9. Roger Ailes:</strong>The CEO of Fox News proves that a fish stinks from the head down. In response to NPR's firing of Juan Williams for bigoted remarks about Muslims, Ailes let loose a tirade wherein he viciously attacked NPR executives: "They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism."<font size="2"><b><br /></b></font></p> <p style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80); "><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "><strong>10. Liz Trotta:</strong> 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, um, Obama. Well, both if we could.”</span></span></p> <p style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80); ">                                <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">               ***</span></p> <p style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80); "><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">It’s difficult to believe that anyone could retain a job in the media after making statements like these. These were not mistakes or misunderstandings. These quotes are not taken 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.</span></span></p> <p style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80); "><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">To be fair,</span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">there is an example of Fox News firing reporters who crossed a line that even Fox could not abide. Steve Wilson and Jane Akre </span></span><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "><a href="http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/11-the-media-can-legally-lie/">investigated a story</a></span></span><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "> detailing 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.</span></span></p> <p style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80); "><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">So while Fox News has no problem with its analysts advocating terrorism against Americans, it draws the line when it comes to suppressing its constitutional right to lie. Fox has taken great care to set its priorities and to draw its ethical lines in the sand that is always under the prevailing tide.</span></span><font size="2"><br /></font></p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Wed, 15 Feb 2012 10:00:01 -0800 Mark Howard, AlterNet 669583 at http://ww.alternet.org Media Media fox glenn beck buchannan trotta GOP Propaganda Guru Scared to Death of Occupy -- 10 Ways He's Trying to Spin the Movement http://ww.alternet.org/story/153308/gop_propaganda_guru_scared_to_death_of_occupy_--_10_ways_he%27s_trying_to_spin_the_movement <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">For decades, Frank Luntz has been fooling low-information voters into supporting unpopular policies. He&#039;s scared of OWS because the movement exposes his lies.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Frank Luntz has been helping to distort the language of Republicans for decades. His specialty is developing dishonest phrases to replace accurate descriptions of social and political issues when the accurate descriptions produce negative impressions of conservatives and their unpopular agenda.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">Luntz created the term <em>“death tax”</em> as a substitute for <em>“estate tax,”</em> reasoning that it would be easier to steer low-information voters away from a tax on dying than a tax on people who own estates. He also supplied the term <em>“government-run”</em> to replace <em>“public option”</em> during the health care debate after determining that focus groups responded less favorably to the label that implied falsely that government would get between you and your doctor.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">It is common to observe Luntz’s fabrications getting adopted by conservative politicians and media. He is a frequent presence on Fox News and has been cited as their main source for right-leaning rhetoric. He serves the same purpose for political clients, and in that role he just spoke at the Republican Governors Association to deliver an ominous warning:</p> <blockquote style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><p>“I’m so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death. They’re having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.”</p></blockquote> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">Luntz is right to be afraid. The Occupy movement has taken hold of the American Dream and reminded citizens that they have a right to be heard on important issues that impact their lives. It has revealed that the American people are <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=5059">overwhelmingly supportive</a> of the goals of the Occupiers. It has reasserted the Constitutional and patriotic practice of free speech and the redress of grievances. These are principles that Luntz and his rightist patrons simply cannot abide.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><br /> Consequently, Luntz went to work to shape a new batch of linguistic contortions with which to befuddle naive FoxPods. The fruit of his fear is striking evidence of the success of the Occupy movement. <font color="#3333ff">Below are the specific suggestions Luntz gave to the GOP governors for what to say, and not to say, when talking about the Occupy movement.</font> Pay attention, because these words and arguments are what will soon be cascading from the mouths of pundits and politicians on Fox News and other ring-wing media:</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>Out: Capitalism / In: Economic Freedom or Free Market</strong><br /> Luntz has concluded that, while Americans still prefer capitalism to socialism, any mention of it will stir thoughts of the misdeeds of Wall Street and bankers. In a nod to the effectiveness of the Occupiers, Luntz believes that to be seen as defending Wall Street is <em>“a problem.”</em></p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>Out: Tax the Rich / In: Take from the Rich</strong><br /> Every poll shows that the country is in favor of making the wealthy pay their fair share. Even <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=5675">polls of millionaires</a> reveal that they think their own taxes should be higher. So Luntz proposes a tweak in the hopes of producing language that sounds more sympathetic. Remove the <em>“sym”</em> and you have something more like the truth.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>Out: Middle-Class / In: Hardworking Taxpayers</strong><br /> The right has obviously lost any appeal to all but the most fortunate in society. Luntz recognizes that there is little to gain by courting the middle-class so he has invented a new term that he believes people can relate to without actually defining it. The problem is that taxpayers that actually do work hard won’t be fooled by this rouse into thinking they are members of the One-Percent whose lives of leisure are supported by GOP policies.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>Out: Jobs / In: Careers</strong><br /> This may be the most brazen deceit on the list. Luntz asked his audience of Republican governors whether they wanted a job or a career. After few hands were raised for the former, and many for the latter, Luntz summed up asking, <em>“So why are we talking about jobs?”</em> He should try asking his questions in the parking lot of a Target Store.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>Out: Government Spending / In: Waste</strong><br /> This is a transparent effort to associate anything having to do with government as wasteful and unnecessary. I assume he means spending on things like Social Security, interstate highways, veteran’s benefits, law enforcement, public schools, child services, water, air, and food safety, and national security, which is, by far, the largest chunk of the federal budget.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>Out: Compromise / In: Cooperate</strong><br /> In today’s Republican party compromise is seen as weakness. Luntz asserts that it amounts to <em>“selling out [your] principles.”</em> He also admits that cooperation means the same thing, but doesn’t have the sting of compromise. The GOP may not have been using Luntz’s phrasing, but they have definitely been acting on the concept. This session of Congress has had more filibusters than any in history as Republicans refuse to compromise. The fact that they are more committed to the failure of this administration than they are to the success of the nation has been apparent to the public, which is why Luntz and the GOP have to resort to this sort of word play.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>Out: ??? / In: I get It</strong><br /> Here Luntz is just offering his version of a patronizing statement to mollify an angry electorate. Luntz told his audience of governors, <em>“Here are three words for you all: ‘I get it.’ I get that you’re angry. I get that you’ve seen inequality. I get that you want to fix the system.”</em> Unfortunately for Luntz &amp; Co. the electorate knows that’s a lie, and they know that the GOP has no solutions.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>Out: Entrepreneur / In: Job Creator</strong><br /> I think this must have something to do with sounding too French. Republicans have a long record of pretending to support entrepreneurship, but Luntz must have detected a derogatory connotation that wasn’t there previously. He must also have detected a problem with the word <em>“innovator”</em> because he also advises against its use. However, the GOP has been using <em>“job creator”</em> as a substitute for <em>“rich,”</em> so they will be forced to find a new label for the one-percent. How about <em>“the One-Percent?”</em></p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>Out: Sacrifice / In: In This Together</strong><br /> The logic behind this twist is that is that the word <em>“sacrifice”</em> evokes a negative feeling that is shared by all. The problem with that logic is that the rich have not sacrificed anything. So, in reality, Luntz just wants to excise the word because it only applies to the subset of Americans who are already suffering and to whom the GOP are least likely to appeal. Raising the specter of sacrifice only dredges up harsh feeling amongst the middle-class…I mean hard working Americans…when juxtaposed with the rich…I mean job creators.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; "><strong>Out: Wall Street / In: Washington</strong><br /> This capsulizes the whole problem for Luntz and the right. He knows that Wall Street is correctly seen as the perpetrator of much of the country’s current ills. He knows that associating with Big Finance will sink the prospects of any politician. And he knows that success for the Upper-Crusters he represents depends on fingering another villain. Ironically, the villains he suggests are the very people and institutions that he represents in DC. If he is going to mount a <em>“blame Washington”</em> campaign it has to include the Republican denizens of the capital who, more than anyone else, handed over control of the economy to the Wall Street hoodlums who promptly shattered it.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">A <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=5818">recently disclosed memo</a> revealed a scheme to launch a propaganda campaign against the Occupy movement funded by $850,000 from the American Bankers Association. The lobbyists behind this effort include former staff members of House Speaker John Boehner. The ties between the Banksters and political power brokers are as strong as ever.</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">The inescapable truth that emerges from Luntz’s presentation is that the Occupy movement has been a phenomenal success. In a little over two months it has captured the imagination of a weary populace who now see a path to redemption. It has flipped the national conversation from one of a phony debt crisis to one focused squarely on economic inequities and the abuse of corporate power in the political arena. And now it has resulted in one of the most satisfying accomplishments of all: It has Fox News’ Word Doctor, and likely all of his clients and colleagues, scared to death. Hopefully they will be just scared enough to start doing the right thing for the 99% of Americans who have had to wait too long the restoration of fairness and justice.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Sat, 03 Dec 2011 06:00:01 -0800 Mark Howard, AlterNet 668674 at http://ww.alternet.org News & Politics gop Occupy How the Bitter Elitists at Fox News Keep Trying -- And Failing -- to Dampen Support for Occupy Wall Street http://ww.alternet.org/story/152889/how_the_bitter_elitists_at_fox_news_keep_trying_--_and_failing_--_to_dampen_support_for_occupy_wall_street <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Another day, another Fox News attempt to smear the Occupy Wall Street movement. This time they&#039;ve resurrected their favorite bogeyman, ACORN.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Another day, another Fox News attempt to smear the Occupy Wall Street movement.</p> <p>Fox News has been feverishly trying to dampen the viral growth of OWS ever since the movement sprouted in a park in Lower Manhattan about a month ago. Fox's overt hostility is in <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=5477">sharp contrast to the love affair</a> they had with the Tea Party. Now Fox is slandering decent and passionate protesters as communists, whining about class war, comparing them to hippies, accusing them of violence, and associating them with Nazis. All of these attacks have collapsed from the weight of their own dishonesty, and support continues to grow for the movement. But does that stop Fox News?</p> <p>Of course not. Their determination to crush this populist uprising is fueled by a cabal of bitter elitists with deep pockets. Rupert Murdoch’s pals on Wall Street have no intention of sitting still while they are asked to be accountable for their chicanery. So yesterday Fox’s Megyn Kelly featured a story based on <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/10/26/exclusive-acorn-playing-behind-scenes-role-in-occupy-movement/">an article at FoxNews.com</a> with a provocative headline: EXCLUSIVE: Ex-ACORN Operatives Behind the Scene of "Occupy" Protests. </p> <p>Run for the hills, Helga. A defunct organization of community organizers who helped low-income citizens to vote, find housing, get an education, and navigate the complexities of government agencies, has risen from the dead to take control of a movement demanding an end to financial and political corruption. It’s Armageddon!</p> <p>The FoxNews.com article was based on a collection of unattributed sources making unsubstantiated allegations about New York Communities for Change (NYCC), the group Fox says is the ACORN spinoff. Most of the claims are so farfetched as to be beyond believability. For example, one source flatly claims that "there is still a national ACORN.” The Fox reporter never bothers to confirm the demonstrably false assertion, nor to challenge the source. And then there’s this…</p> <blockquote> <p>“Sources said NYCC has hired about 100 former ACORN-affiliated staff members from other cities – paying some of them $100 a day – to attend and support Occupy Wall Street. Dozens of New York homeless people recruited from shelters are also being paid to support the protests, at the rate of $10 an hour, the sources said.”</p></blockquote> <p>Doing the math, that comes to $10,000 a day for the staffers and another $8,000 (approx.) a day for the homeless recruits. The Wall Street Occupation has just entered its sixth week, but if we assume that these folks worked for just three of those weeks, that’s $270,000 (with weekends off).</p> <p>Remember, ACORN disbanded when its funding dried up as a result of the negative publicity generated by the thoroughly discredited smear campaign of <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://mediamatters.org/research/201001270048">video-dissembler James O’Keefe</a>. Every investigation of ACORN subsequent to its dissolution failed to find any wrongdoing except on the part of O’Keefe, whose videos were deemed to have been deliberately and unethically deceptive.</p> <p>Nevertheless, Fox is now reporting that the spawn of this bankrupt non-profit “raked in about $5,000" via fundraising efforts by hired canvassers. And with that puny take they managed to pay over a quarter of a million dollars to 150 people. That sort of magical fiscal management hasn’t been seen since Jesus fed the multitudes with five loaves of bread and a couple of fish. And all of this was supposedly orchestrated in order to make a crowd of thousands look marginally bigger. This doesn’t even take into consideration any of NYCC’s other expenses like rent, utilities, office equipment, etc., despite a specific assertion in the article that the money raised was used “to buy supplies, pay staff and cover travel expenses.”</p> <p>NYCC has issued a response to Fox News:</p> <blockquote> <p>“Fox News is trying to discredit Occupy Wall Street. New York Communities for Change is a new organization that fights for low- and moderate-income families. We don’t pay protesters and any monies raised by NYCC’s canvass are used in support of our ongoing issue campaigns. Period.</p> <p>“The reality is that Occupy Wall Street is an organic movement of the 99% outraged at the ability of the 1% to corrupt America’s political and financial systems for personal gain while middle class families lose their jobs, their homes, and see their economic future devastated. We call on Fox News to stop its unseemly attacks and to respect the views of the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe that our nation needs a more equitable distribution of wealth.”</p></blockquote> <p>The Fox News article’s author, Jana Winter, claims to have interviewed insiders with specific knowledge of private details. Winter cites her interview subjects 20 times in the article but only once puts a name to a comment. Her aversion to identify anyone even includes a spokesman for the United Federation of Teachers and a Fox News producer – two people who presumably are not averse to attribution.</p> <p>The one identified source is Harrison Schultz, an Occupy Wall Street spokesman, whom Winter quotes as saying that “he knew nothing about NYCC’s involvement in the Occupy movement. ‘Haven’t seen them, couldn’t tell you,’ he said.” So the only on-the-record quote in the whole article was an unambiguous denial of any OWS coordination with NYCC. That’s what Fox News considers an “exclusive” expose of ACORN’s clandestine domination of the movement.</p> <p>For the past few weeks Fox News and the broader right-wing media has relentlessly hammered at OWS. They have tried in vain to drive down support for the movement by associating it with a different villain on an almost daily basis. Bill O’Reilly and his guest, Glenn Beck, discussed how George Soros was funding the protesters and their newspaper, the <em>Occupied Wall Street Journal</em>. In fact, there is no verifiable tie to Soros -- the paper was <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/610964639/occupy-wall-street-media">funded by donations</a>. Glenn Beck took pleasure in a report that former KKK leader David Duke had “endorsed” OWS. What Beck failed to mention is that Duke, a pathological self-promoter, had also <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=5652">endorsed the Tea Party</a>. But Andrew Breitbart took the top dishonors by speculating that OWS might be <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=5546">affiliated with Al Qaeda</a>.</p> <p>Despite this barrage of hogwash, the Occupy movement continues to gain popularity. A <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20125515-503544/poll-43-percent-agree-with-views-of-occupy-wall-street/">CBS/New York Times poll</a> shows that 43 percent of the country agree with the Occupiers. Even more significant is the support expressed for the movement’s economic justice agenda, particularly raising taxes on the wealthy. <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/behind-the-numbers/post/poll-middle-class-pain-necessary-but-widely-unpopular/2011/10/07/gIQAMksvaL_blog.html">A Bloomberg poll</a> shows overwhelming support by 68 percent of the American people, including a majority of both independents and Republicans. And <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/yup-moderates-and-independents-support-taxing-the-rich/2011/03/03/gIQAB9gMiK_blog.html?wprss=plum-line">poll after poll</a> affirms those results.</p> <p>Is it any wonder then that Fox News is so frantically flinging fistfuls of mud in the hopes that something will stick? And since the usual name-calling they employ (socialists, thugs, deviants) has failed to make a mark, they are pulling out oldies like ACORN. Even if the association with ACORN were true, what would be the harm. ACORN was fully exonerated, while its critics were repudiated. There is no shame in being associated with an organization that fought for decades on behalf of the disenfranchised members of our society.</p> <p>This is a desperate move on the part of Fox News that reveals the weakness of their position. Expect Fox to escalate their attacks into even more bizarre territory. Before long they will find a way to associate the Occupiers with an underground civilization of Molemen seeking to overthrow the surface-dwellers. Occupy Overground!</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Thu, 27 Oct 2011 06:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 668276 at http://ww.alternet.org Media Occupy Wall Street Media economy wall street ows Andrew Breitbart's Pathetic Attempt to Smear Occupy Wall St. http://ww.alternet.org/story/152745/andrew_breitbart%27s_pathetic_attempt_to_smear_occupy_wall_st. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Breitbart&#039;s latest attention grab illustrates just how afraid the right is of the 99% of Americans who are waking up to the injustice and corruption of the 1%.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p> The last time Andrew Breitbart got any significant notice in the media was when he publicized the Twitter sexting of former congressman Anthony Weiner. It was a particularly repulsive bit of gossipy sensationalism that furthered no public interest, but ruined a man’s career (and possibly his family), just to satisfy Breitbart’s craving for attention and <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=4567" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204);" target="_blank">his obsession</a> with destroying what he calls <em>“the institutional left.”</em></p> <p>That was four months ago and Breitbart must be getting antsy about having been ignored by the press ever since. Friday on his BigGoverment web site he has <a href="http://biggovernment.com/abreitbart/2011/10/14/crowdsource-this-social-list-emails-expose-occupywallstreet-conspiracy-to-destablize-global-markets-governments/" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204);" target="_blank">published an article</a> asking his readers to comb through thousands of emails that he says are from OccupyWallStreet organizers. He claims to have acquired them from a <em>“private cyber security researcher.”</em> Breitbart provides links to download these emails so that his minions can scour them for evidence of <em>“links to socialist, anarchist, and possibly even jihadist organizations.”</em></p> <p>It’s not bad enough that right-wing media have attempted to portray the Occupy Movement as dirty hippies, lazy freeloaders, ignorant dupes, leftist traitors, godless heathens, diabolical Marxists, violent revolutionaries, and White House plants, Breitbart is adding Al-Qaeda terrorists to this list. If it wasn’t so dangerously provocative it would be moderately humorous. But Breitbart’s accusations are irresponsible and his activities may be illegal. The first paragraph of the story says…</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Breitbart:</strong> “In keeping with the new media notion of crowdsourcing–enthusiastically embraced by the mainstream media when trawling through Sarah Palin’s emails–Big Government will be providing readers later today with links to a document drop consisting of thousands of emails.”</p></blockquote> <p>The correlation Breitbart draws between these emails and those of Sarah Palin is entirely inapplicable.<a href="http://www.adn.com/2011/06/09/1908235/alaska-poised-to-release-2400.html" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204);" target="_blank">Palin’s emails</a> as governor of Alaska were released through a lawful process that requires communications by government officials to be available to the public. Both the state of Alaska and Palin’s attorneys had an opportunity to examine the emails for any privacy concerns and neither expressed any objection to their release.</p> <p>Breitbart, however, is publishing emails that were expressly created by individuals for their personal use. They were private communications amongst people who did not grant their publication and were not advised of it. The emails were literally stolen by a hacker who admits that he gained access to them through deception and misrepresentation (social engineering). And Breitbart is now complicit in the crime by publishing the ill-gotten goods with full knowledge of their origins.</p> <p>Anyone familiar with Breitbart’s <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=4599" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204);" target="_blank">Legacy of Sleaze</a> will not be surprised by this latest atrocity. He previously was best known for unfairly smearing ACORN, Shirley Sherrod, and others, with videos that were deliberately edited to produce a false and negative impression.</p> <p>It should be noted that, thus far, none of the emails that Breitbart or his lackeys have reviewed contain anything remotely embarrassing. That, however, hasn’t stopped him from lifting words like<em>“destabalization”</em> and <em>“unrest”</em> out of context to suggest something more devious than the public protesting that is protected by the Constitution. Breitbart will surely employ such tactics to demonize the movement, just as he did with his attacks on ACORN, etc. It’s hard-coded in his deviant nature.</p> <p>Even if there are some unsavory comments sprinkled amongst the thousands of emails, they could not plausibly be attributed to the Occupy Movement as a whole because the movement has no leader or authoritative spokesperson. It would just be one person’s opinion. The possibility that someone in a group of passionate dissidents wrote something offensive is not inconceivable. But it is also not official doctrine and cannot honestly be represented as such. The key word there being <em>“honestly.”</em> If Breitbart finds something controversial he will no doubt try to tarnish the movement with the indiscreet remarks of a single, marginally associated individual.</p> <p>In the telling of this story it must not be forgotten that the emails being reviewed by Breitbart &amp; Co. were obtained in manner that is at least immoral. And this isn’t the only example of such despicable, and possibly unlawful, behavior on the part of right-wing activists.</p> <p><strong>Patrick Howell</strong>, an assistant editor for the uber-conservative American Spectator magazine, <a href="http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/10/ta101311.html" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204);" target="_blank">admitted to infiltrating OccupyDC</a> for the purpose of undermining it. He then attempted to lead a group of protesters into storming the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. The protesters, being much smarter than Howell, did not play along. Howell stormed the museum alone and was pepper-sprayed by security.</p> <p><strong>Mark Williams</strong>, former spokesman for Tea Party Express, told his radio listeners that he was planning to <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=3900" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204);" target="_blank">sabotage union rallies</a> with the intention of making them look <em>“greedy and goonish.”</em> And he beseeched his listeners to do the same. Williams was the one-time spokesperson for the Tea Party Express, but was dismissed for publishing a virulently racist article on his blog.</p> <p><strong>Mike Vanderboegh</strong>, a militiaman from Alabama, encouraged his followers to <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/25/AR2010032501722.html" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204);" target="_blank">break the windows</a> of Democratic offices with rocks and baseball bats. More recently Vanderboegh published a Photoshopped picture of Attorney General Eric Holder in a Nazi uniform.</p> <p><strong>Rush Limbaugh</strong> delivered a radio sermon in which he called for riots at the Democratic National Convention. The rant was titled <em><a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=880" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204);" target="_blank">“Screw the World! Riot in Denver!”</a></em> He was specific in describing his objective as <em>“burning cars, protests, fires, literal riots, and all of that.”</em></p> <p>This illustrates just how afraid the right is of the 99% of Americans who are waking up to the injustice and corruption of the 1%. They are increasingly fearful that their free ride is over. When people like Rush Limbaugh call the Wall Street protesters <em>“human debris;”</em> when Glenn Beck asserts that they <em>“will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you;”</em> it is all too clear that they have lost control of their senses. They are so deranged by fear that there is no limit to the absurdity of their claims and actions.</p> <p>It also illustrates the sort of desperation that leaves the likes of Breitbart clinging to the hope that he can find damning rhetoric that he can misrepresent in emails that were illicitly acquired. And it isn’t going to end any time soon. This is something that progressives and occupiers are going to have to be aware of as the struggle proceeds. Vigilance of the conservative whack jobs and their media accomplices must be an ongoing focus of the campaign for economic justice.</p> <p> </p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Sat, 15 Oct 2011 06:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 668133 at http://ww.alternet.org News & Politics The Right Wing Media News & Politics breitbart occupy wall street The Foxification of CNN? 8 Signs the Network Is Trying to Tilt Crazy Right http://ww.alternet.org/story/152704/the_foxification_of_cnn_8_signs_the_network_is_trying_to_tilt_crazy_right <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">If there&#039;s one thing that American media doesn&#039;t need, it&#039;s another Fox News. The first one is already doing a stellar job of advancing the GOP agenda.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>In the fiercely competitive world of cable news, the players have been jockeying for position as they battle for viewers and advertisers. Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN, each with their own models of programming, seek to gain scale and influence.</p> <p>Fox News, we know, has established its place as the leader in right-wing advocacy and Republican PR. MSNBC, while not a full-fledged counter to Fox, has allotted a fair portion of its programming to more liberally leaning fare. But CNN, the innovator and one-time leader in cable news, has wavered between those poles emerging as somewhat of a journalistic mutant – neither left nor right nor neutral.</p> <p>The past year, however, CNN has been attempting to fashion a more recognizable persona. The shift coincides with <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=2792">the promotion of Ken Jautz</a>, formerly the president of CNN’s sister network, HLN. At HLN Jautz successed in raising both ratings and revenue by turning the channel into a trashy TV tabloid reliant on celebrity gossip and characters like Nancy Grace and Glenn Beck (yes, Jautz gave Beck his first job on television).</p> <p>Now presiding over CNN, Jautz has brought his brash and distinctively commercial style to the network that once aspired to be a model of journalistic integrity. He is employing the same sensationalist philosophy at CNN that brought him success at HLN, along with a decidedly conservative bent. In <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.thewrap.com/media/column-post/ken-jautz-cnn-new-leader-grilled-21188">an interview</a> he gave after his promotion was announced Jautz delivered a tribute to Fox News and a preview of what to expect from his tenure saying that he does not believe that <em>“facts-only”</em> programming will work. True to his word he has endeavored to give CNN a shiny Fox-like hue and assembled a team that shares his aversion to facts.</p> <p>Here are some examples of the lowlights of the Jautz era at CNN:</p> <p>1) First and foremost, Jautz brought Glenn Beck into the CNN family saying that <em>“Glenn’s style is self-deprecating, cordial…not confrontational.”</em> That sort of delusional analysis ought to have been a red flag that disqualified Jautz from running a news network.</p> <p>2) Erick Erickson, the RedState blogger who once called Supreme Court Justice David Souter a Goat-f**king child molester, became a CNN political commentator. Since his hiring he has cheered the S&amp;P’s downgrading of the U.S. credit rating and agreed with Rick Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.</p> <p>3) CNN signed Dana Loesch, the editor of Andrew Breitbart’s BigJournalism, to be a contributor. Loesch has alleged that President Obama <em>“sided with terrorists,”</em> and she embraced the overt bigotry of notorious Islamaphobe Pamela Geller. Breitbart, of course is famous for promoting deceptively edited videos that smeared ACORN, NPR, Shirley Sherrod and even CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau. Loesch was hired by CNN after these events were widely known.</p> <p>4) Jautz brought Erin Burnett over from CNBC. In her debut she broadcast a story that portrayed the protesters on Wall Street as unfocused neo-hippies that didn’t understand the issues they were protesting. Burnett would have fit in well on the curvy couch of Fox &amp; Friends where they routinely disparage the movement without ever addressing the substance of it.</p> <p>5) CNN had the distinction of being the only network to air Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus response to the State of the Union Address. Even Fox didn’t think it was worthy of live coverage. The result is that CNN had two opposing viewpoints to the President’s address, one from the GOP and one from the Tea Party which, of course, is just an affiliate of the GOP. We’re still waiting for CNN to air a response from the Progressive Caucus or MoveOn.org.</p> <p>6) Another new CNN political analyst is Will Cain, who CNN acquired from the ultra-conservative National Review. And if that credential isn’t far enough out in right field, Cain just announced that he is joining Glenn Beck’s web site, The Blaze.</p> <p>7) CNN locked arms with the Tea Party to co-host a Republican presidential primary debate. By choosing Tea Party Express as their partner they embraced a dubious organization that was booted out of the Tea Party Federation due to the racist commentaries of a spokesman. It was also revealed that most of the funds raised from donations wound up in the coffers of Russo, Marsh, the Republican PR firm that founded Tea Party Express.</p> <p>8) Former Fox News anchor and Bill O’Reilly fill-in, E.D. Hill, is now a CNN contributor. Hill was dumped by Fox after a segment that showed President Obama giving the First Lady a friendly fist bump and Hill called it a <em>“terrorist fist jab.”</em></p> <p>So CNN is now employing Fox News rejects, Andrew Breitbart lieutenants, and Glenn Beck associates. On the flip side, former CNN reporters Ed Henry and John Roberts are now comfortably ensconced at Fox News. The lines between CNN and Fox News are blurring to the point where the networks are becoming indistinguishable. And most of this occurred since Ken Jautz assumed the helm of CNN.</p> <p>If there is one thing that American media doesn’t need, it’s another Fox News. The first one is already doing a stellar job of misinforming the public and advancing the agenda of the Republican Party. What’s more, emulating Fox has done nothing for CNN’s ratings. Why should it? Viewers who are in the market for dumbed-down histrionics, Democrat bashing, and a steady diet of right-wing falsehoods, already have a proven provider. <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=5399">Fox’s audience has shown</a> that they are not the least bit interested in looking for the remote that slipped under the sofa years ago. They don’t even change the channel when their heroes are just a click down the dial.</p> <p>Consequently, if CNN is gaining nothing from reshaping their editorial slant to mirror Fox, the only conclusion is that they are deliberately making a hard right turn because that is the direction they want to go. But this path has only resulted in their dropping to third place behind Fox and MSNBC. If CNN ever hopes to regain some of the luster of their glory days, they will need to differentiate themselves from Fox. They might want to take a stab at journalism. That would be novel in these days of advocacy tabloidism.</p> <p> </p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Wed, 12 Oct 2011 04:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 668112 at http://ww.alternet.org The Right Wing The Right Wing media fox cnn right-wing conservative GOP and Tea Party Mobs Determined to Raise Taxes -- On the Poor http://ww.alternet.org/story/152129/gop_and_tea_party_mobs_determined_to_raise_taxes_--_on_the_poor <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">High-profile members of the right-wing like to claim that &quot;half the country doesn&#039;t pay taxes.&quot; It&#039;s a straight-up lie.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>America’s Republican/Tea Party contingent, who are defined by their dogmatic devotion to lower taxes as a panacea for everything, have finally found a sector of society they can comfortably saddle with a higher tax burden: the poor.</p> <p>That’s right. These antitax zealots have concluded that fairness cannot be achieved in the country’s tax code as long as there are disadvantaged freeloaders who are allegedly not paying into the system. While they fight tooth and nail to protect wealthy individuals and corporations from contributing even modest amounts to the nation’s recovery, the rightist brigade is marching lock-step in favor of soaking the poor in order to heal the malaise on Wall Street and the misery of long-suffering bankers. Their battle cry goes something like this: “Half of the Country Doesn’t Pay Any Taxes At All.” Fox News has been pushing that theme for quite a while. For the past two years they headlined it on Fox Nation right at tax time.</p> <p>This movement is not some scruffy assemblage of disorganized trust-funders seeking to upgrade their yachts. It is a coordinated campaign that has pulled together high-profile proponents from politics and the press. Here is a sampling of the breadth and unity of the movement and the message:</p> <ul><li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Rick Perry (R-TX):</strong> We’re dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Michele Bachmann (R-MN):</strong> A system in which 47 percent of Americans don’t pay any tax is ruinous for a democracy.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Sarah Palin (R-AK):</strong> The problem is more than 40 percent pay no income taxes at all.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Orrin Hatch (R-UT):</strong> 51 percent don’t pay anything.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Jim DeMint (R-SC):</strong> Over half of Americans pay no federal income tax.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Mitch McConnell (R-KY):</strong> In fact, about half of Americans don’t pay any income taxes at all.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>John Boehner (R-OH):</strong> Fifty-one percent — that is, a majority of American households — paid no income tax in 2009. Zero. Zip. Nada.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Eric Cantor (R-MD):</strong> We also have a situation in this country where you’re nearing 50 percent of people who don’t even pay income taxes.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Alan West (R-FL):</strong> Currently we have some 40-45 percent of Americans who are not paying any taxes.</li> </ul><p>We’re not through yet.</p> <ul><li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Donald Trump (R-HisOwnEgo):</strong> You do have a problem because half of the people don’t pay any tax.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Bill O’Reilly (Fox News):</strong> 50 percent of Americans don’t pay any federal income tax now.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Stuart Varney (Fox News):</strong> About half the people who work in America, half the households, actually, pay any federal income tax at all.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Dave Briggs (Fox News):</strong> [A]lmost half of this country pays no income tax whatsoever.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Gretchen Carlson (Fox News):</strong> But what does that mean when you factor in that 50 percent of the nation doesn’t even pay federal income tax? Is that fair?</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><font color="red"><strong>[Idiot Award Winner]</strong></font> <strong>Steve Doocy (Fox News):</strong> With 47 percent of Americans not paying taxes – 47 percent – should those who don’t pay be allowed to vote?</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Sean Hannity (Fox News):</strong> 50 percent of Americans no longer pay taxes.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Neil Cavuto (Fox News):</strong> I’ve discovered nearly half of this country’s households don’t pay any taxes at all.</li> </ul><p>Oh yes, there’s more.</p> <ul><li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Dave Ramsey (Fox News):</strong> This idea that 42 percent of Americans don’t pay anything…that’s just morally wrong.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Brian Kilmeade (Fox News):</strong> Fifty-one percent of the country isn’t paying any taxes at all.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Eric Bolling (Fox News):</strong> 43 percent of households don’t pay any federal tax.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Glenn Beck (Right-Wing Radio):</strong> There was like 48 percent say they pay their right amount of taxes and 49 percent don’t pay any tax.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Rush Limbaugh (Right-Wing Radio):</strong> Meanwhile, 45 percent of Americans pay nothing.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Gary Bauer (Right-Wing Evangelist):</strong> But the reality is that nearly half of Americans don’t pay any income tax.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Rick Warren (Right-Wing Evangelist):</strong> HALF of America pays NO taxes. Zero.</li> <li style="margin-left: 15px; "><strong>Ted Nugent (Right-Wing Douchebag):</strong> This, of course, will not apply to those 50 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes.</li> </ul><p>Is there anyone who could seriously argue that this is not a coordinated effort aimed at demonizing low-income and working-class citizens? The conformity and ubiquity of the identical messaging from such a broad spectrum of players is audacious and disturbing. And what’s worse, it is entirely misleading. </p> <p>First of all, claims that half the population pay no taxes at all are factually wrong. There are about 46 percent who do not pay <em>federal income</em> taxes, but most of them do pay many other taxes including Social Security, state and local, sales, property, gas, etc. Second, it should come as no surprise that those with little or no tax liability have little or no income. The majority of this group is comprised of senior citizens, students, the disabled, and the unemployed. Those are the folks the right wants to tap for new revenue rather than the rich, who they have taken to calling “job creators” despite the fact that they haven’t created any jobs since they got the Bush tax cuts a decade ago.</p> <p>To put this <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.alternet.org/story/150625/tax_day_question%3A_who%27s_paying_what/?page=entire">into perspective</a>, federal income taxes account for just 20 percent of all taxes. When you add them all up, people making $20,000 a year pay approximately the same  tax rate as people making $500,000, give or take 5 percent. However, those earning a half-million have seen their rate decline almost 50 percent since 1980, while the rate for the 20K earners edged slightly higher.        </p> <p>What’s more, corporate taxes as a percentage of federal revenue <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.ourfiscalsecurity.org/taxes-matter/2011/4/12/loophole-land-time-to-reform-corporate-taxes.html">dropped</a> from 27.3 percent in 1955, to 8.9 percent in 2010. During that same time period individual income/payrolls as a percentage of federal revenue skyrocketed from 58 percent to 81.5 percent. Thus the burden of paying for our government shifted broadly from corporations to ordinary people (notwithstanding the Supreme Court Ruling that corporations <em>are</em> people). These facts prove that whole faux controversy over the tax liability of low-income Americans is, in technical terms, a crazy zombie lie.</p> <p>Also worthy of note is that one of the main reasons many Americans owe no federal income tax is due to the earned-income tax credit that was introduced by Republican President Gerald Ford and expanded by Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. And now the GOP is threatening to <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://news.yahoo.com/gop-may-ok-tax-increase-obama-hopes-block-124016578.html">impose a tax hike on working people</a> by opposing the extension of President Obama’s Payroll Tax reduction. This relief was passed as a temporary measure and is set to expire at the end of this year. Obama has proposed extending it for another year, but House Republicans are balking, saying “not all tax relief is created equal” (Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX), and that tax reductions, “no matter how well-intended,” will push the deficit higher (Rep. David Camp, R-MI). Camp is a member of the deficit reduction-seeking super-committee. A spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), says the legislator “has never believed that this type of temporary tax relief is the best way to grow the economy.”</p> <p>Really? Is this the same Eric Cantor who fought so fiercely for Bush’s tax cuts for the rich? Cantor, and the rest of the Tea-publicans, are putting their deficit-cutting necks on the line to raise the $120 billion that would be restored to the treasury by letting the payroll tax relief expire, but they will take the fight to Hell and back before considering the recovery of $800 billion from the expiration of Bush’s gift to taxpayers earning more $250,000 a year. Apparently Republicans are opposed to temporary tax relief when it benefits the middle- and working-classes, but they are wildly in favor of it when it benefits the wealthy.</p> <div class="im" style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80); "><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">How can the GOP get away with portraying themselves as tax-cutters while advancing an agenda that would increase taxes for most Americans who happen not to be rich? How can the Tea Party assert through their acronym that they have been “Taxed Enough Already” when they view seniors, and other low-income Americans as not taxed enough? And when will the media expose this brazen hypocrisy?</span></p> </div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Mon, 22 Aug 2011 06:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 667460 at http://ww.alternet.org News & Politics Media Economy fox news debt taxes rich tax poor austerity debt debate taxing the rich taxing the poor 8 Dumbest, Most Insensitive Right-Wing Reactions to the Norway Shooting http://ww.alternet.org/story/151774/8_dumbest%2C_most_insensitive_right-wing_reactions_to_the_norway_shooting <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The right-wing media has engaged in brazen finger-pointing and insensitivity toward the victims and other innocent parties.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Last week’s tragedy in Norway has left the world stunned. The magnitude of the bloodbath is difficult to comprehend. As news of the massacre began to trickle out, speculation was rampant as to the perpetrator and the motive.</span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Not surprisingly, much of the early accounts falsely alleged an Al Qaeda connection. As facts started to infuse the reporting, it became clear that the suspect, Anders Breivik, is an extremist, fundamentalist Christian, with harshly bigoted views toward Muslims, immigrants and leftists. His manifesto resembles the ravings of Glenn Beck with talk of cultural Marxism and Islamic colonization. Yet even after Breivik’s motives were disclosed, the right-wing media has continued to engage in brazen finger-pointing and insensitivity toward the victims and other innocent parties. For instance…</span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "><strong>1) A writer on Andrew Breitbart’s BigPeace website set ou</strong><strong>t to whitewash Breivik's right-wing Christianity: “This Norwegian terrorist was not a Christian or a conservative. He acted contrary to the teachings of the Bible and conservatives from Burke to Madison. He was instead a jihadist, blinded by an ideology who resorted to violence…”</strong></span></p> <div class="im" style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80); "><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">While Breitbart’s crew is anxious to disassociate mainstream Christians from this atrocity, rightists in America rarely offer that distinction to Muslims who regard terrorists like Bin Laden as apostates and not representative of their faith. </span></div> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "><strong>2) On the other hand, CNN’s Erick Erickson unapologetically went after Muslims anyway: “The fact of the matter is violence and Islam may not be very common among American Muslims [sic], but internationally it is extremely common and can fairly well be considered mainstream within much of Islam.”</strong></span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Remember, this was after Erickson learned that there was no Islamic connection to the massacre. (Erickson was one of many conservatives who initially accused Muslims of the crime before Breivik was captured.)</span></p> <p><strong>3) A writer at RedState went off a cognitive cliff to claim that “We live in a world where we are perfectly happy to abort millions of children and then DEMAND to know WHY Anders Behring Breivik became the human sarcoma that he truly is.”</strong></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Never mind the fact that we already know Breivik’s crime was spurred by his hatred for multiculturalism; the RedStaters are determined to find a way to lay blame on any handy tenet of progressivism. Remember Pat Robertson blaming Hurricane Katrina on the gays?</span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "><strong>4) Mark Steyn of the National Review is stumped as to why there have been allegations of Islamophobia: “So, if a blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavian kills dozens of other blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavians, that’s now an ‘Islamophobic’ mass murder?”</strong></span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Yes, it is. Breivik explicitly targeted people associated with Norway’s Labour Party, whom he blamed for promoting multiculturalism.</span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "><strong>5) Brian Kilmeade on Fox News queried his guest: “Are you surprised somewhat that Western newspapers, in this case the New York Times, seem to be jumping on the fact — they’re trying to equate Christian, what they say are Christian extremists, with Muslim extremists?”</strong></span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Kilmeade utterly failed to grasp the irony that just hours earlier he and his network were baselessly accusing Muslims of committing the mass murder. Now he’s worried about the reputation of Christians, despite the fact that the shooter was a Christian.</span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "><strong>6) Professional Islamophobe, Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, found a unique way to blame Muslims even after she knew they were not involved. </strong></span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "><strong>“Anders Behring Breivik is responsible for his actions. If anyone incited him to violence, it was Islamic supremacists. If anything incited him to violence, it was the Euro-Med policy."</strong></span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">So according to Gellar, Muslims are responsible for violence that they cause themselves, as well as for violence caused by others who hate them.</span></p> <p><strong>7) After first asserting that the perpetrators were likely to have been Muslim terrorists, John Hinderaker of the PowerLine blog dug in, saying, “Was that wrong? Not at all. Any time mass murder attacks take place, it is not just likely but highly probable that they are the work of Muslim jihadists.”</strong></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">This conveniently leaves open the opportunity to blame every future act of terrorism on Muslims, whether or not they are responsible. </span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "><strong>8) As Norway mourns, the right-wing media has been boiling over with speculation that is both derisive and bizarre. And you can’t allude to bizarre derision without acknowledging Glenn Beck, whose unconscionable remarks exceed all the others by disparaging the actual teenage victims even before they have been laid to rest: </strong></span><strong>“As the thing started to unfold, and then there was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler Youth, or whatever. I mean, who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics?”</strong></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Well, for one there is </span><a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/06/14/tea_party_summer_camp"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Glenn Beck’s own 912 Project</span></a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "> that sponsors the Tampa Liberty School, a Tea Party-themed getaway for schoolchildren ages 8-12. But that doesn’t excuse Beck’s inference that the slaughtered campers were akin to Hitler’s youth brigades.</span></p> <p> </p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">All of these examples of ignorant bigotry took place AFTER it was known that the gunman was not Muslim, but an extremist Christian and far-right activist. Not surprisingly, the conservative press was just as blindly prejudiced in its initial reactions to the breaking news.</span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">The despicably bigoted opinions expressed by the prominent, establishment commentators above reveal a dark and disturbing side of American conservatism. Their views percolate throughout the rightosphere and infect the broader community of conservatives. That endorsement of hate results in even more extreme views, like those expressed by this member of the Maine Tea Party: "Man of the Year 2011 – Anders Behring Breivik!!!"</span></p> <div class="im" style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80); "><center><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">If cooler (saner) minds don’t rise to moderate this overt hostility, the potential for more of this violence will persist, and there is no reason why it would not occur here in the United States. In fact, right-wing extremists have already demonstrated their capacity to do harm, as the survivors of </span><a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Tiller"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Dr. Tiller</span></a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">, or the targets of </span><a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://mediamatters.org/research/201010110002"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Byron Williams</span></a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "> will inform you. And let's not forget Timothy McVeigh’s attack on a government that his militia-bred philosophy viewed as too liberal.</span></center></div> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); "> </span></p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Mon, 25 Jul 2011 12:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 667111 at http://ww.alternet.org The Right Wing The Right Wing glenn beck right wing norway Is Fox News Scared? Desperate Attacks on Watchdog Group Media Matters Suggest Yes http://ww.alternet.org/story/151558/is_fox_news_scared_desperate_attacks_on_watchdog_group_media_matters_suggest_yes <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The Fox News pack is on the warpath against media watchdog group Media Matters.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>In the untamed jungle that is cable news, there is a ferocious and predatory beast stalking the terrain. Anyone who has encountered Fox News in the wild can attest to the spine-chilling threat imposed by the pseudo-news network. And now Fox News has the scent of new game.</p> <p>The Fox News pack is on the warpath against the media watchdog group, Media Matters. In the past two weeks it has featured over 30 stories with the express purpose of challenging the group’s right to exist. Fox has assigned network stalwarts like Bill O’Reilly, Bret Baier, Charles Krauthammer, James Rosen, Dick Morris, and Bernie Goldberg to the mission. This is an unprecedented, broadly distributed attack by a major media enterprise against a non-profit group it regards as an adversary.</p> <p>This latest batch of complaints stem from comments made last March by Media Matters founder, David Brock. He was quoted in Politico as saying that the organization was shifting its focus toward Fox News to one of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage.” Giving Fox the benefit of doubt, one might conclude it’s only fair that Fox defend itself from such an overt declaration of war. The only thing that might refute that perspective is – reality.</p> <p>If this is war, Fox is the aggressor. Fox News initiated its attacks long ago with aggressive and false assertions that cast Media Matters as hacks, anti-American, violent, and communist. Fox alleged that George Soros was pulling their strings long before Soros ever made any contributions to the group. Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck engaged in rhetoric so hostile that it inspired actual physical attacks against Media Matters and its progressive allies. A video (posted at the end of this story and courtesy of Media Matters) was posted two years ago and illustrates the hostility harbored across the Fox platform long before Brock’s recent comments.</p> <p>The new and highly coordinated offensive by Fox asserts that Media Matters has violated the terms of its tax-exempt status by setting its sights on Fox. Fox quotes from the IRS rules governing non-profits that state that…</p> <blockquote> <p>“…501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”</p></blockquote> <p>On the basis of that criteria, Fox News argues that Media Matters is in violation and should have its tax-exempt status revoked. However, in order for that to be valid, Fox would have to admit that it is a political operation so that attacks on Fox News would qualify as opposition to political campaigns and/or candidates. Without that stipulation there is no violation on the part of Media Matters. So Fox is, in effect, conceding its role as a Republican mouthpiece. Shocking, I know.</p> <p>Even if Fox were to come out of the propaganda closet, Media Matters would still be in the clear because the non-profit prohibition is explicitly related to campaigns and candidates and to lobbying. Since Media Matters is not directly aiding any political campaign or engaged in lobbying members of congress, there is no violation of its tax-exempt status. Politico cites attorney Marcus Owens, a former director of the Exempt Organization Division of the IRS, as saying that “the law is on Media Matters’ side.”</p> <p>What makes this even worse is that Fox is not merely rebutting what it regards as negative criticism, it is actively using the tax status allegation as the basis for a campaign to shut Media Matters down. Fox repeatedly runs false, one-sided stories asserting that Media Matters is unlawfully receiving federal subsidies. These stories are followed with direct appeals to viewers to file complaints with the IRS. Fox anchor Steve Doocy has made several announcements on his morning show Fox &amp; Friends like this one:</p> <blockquote> <p>“Somebody has set up a website and we have linked it, actually, at FoxNation.com. If you go down about half way down you’ll see that logo. If you want to file a complaint with the IRS against Media Matters because you feel they have gone political, they have abandoned their initial quest, then go to that site and go ahead.”</p></blockquote> <p>Not only is that a waste of time because of the reasons stated above, it is also unethical. Has anyone ever heard of a news enterprise directing its viewers to file official complaints against another organization it regards as an enemy? If NBC were to instruct its viewers to file tax status complaints against the Tea Party because the organization attacks the network, would the folks at Fox News consider that acceptable?</p> <p>Of course not. Fox would regard that as scandalous, unethical, outside the jurisdiction of a news network, and deliberate harassment. Which is exactly what it is when Fox does it. Such complaints, if accepted, would also open the door to challenges against conservative groups like the Media Research Center (operator of NewsBusters) and the Heritage Foundation.</p> <p>When asked by Politico for a statement, the MRC’s Brent Bozell said only that “Media Matters stands accused of violating its tax-deductible status, and I think that fact speaks for itself.” Since the MRC stands accused of doing precisely the same thing that Media Matters does, that fact speaks for itself as well. Bozell is essentially saying that if Media Matters is guilty, then so is the MRC. And If the MRC is innocent, then so is Media Matters.</p> <p>The link on Fox Nation that Doocy and others on Fox have referenced is nothing more than an appeal to readers to file complaints with the IRS. The article’s headline says it all: “Want to File an IRS Complaint Against Media Matters? Click Here.” The Fox Nationalists have bumped that story up to the top of the page every day, placing it first among the “New Stories” despite the fact that it is now almost two weeks old.</p> <p>On one particularly egregious segment, Fox advised its viewers to lie when filling out the IRS complaint form.</p> <p>The instruction to check the boxes for political campaigning and lobbying activities amounts to falsifying the form because there is no evidence Media Matters has done any of that. If these complaint forms required the complainant to sign under oath, then Fox would be guilty of suborning perjury. As it is Fox is merely guilty of attempting to flood the IRS with frivolous and phony paperwork; which for conservatives seeking to reduce the cost and oversight of government is pretty hypocritical.</p> <p>Over the weekend, Fox committed fully half of its “News Watch” program to the Media Matters affair. The show opened with a biased story from Fox reporter James Rosen, including former Bush lawyer, C. Boyden Gray, making this ludicrous assertion:</p> <blockquote> <p>“When you start to accuse Fox News of being the spokesman for the Republican Party, which is demonstrably false – there’s no basis for that. Brock, Media Matters, makes no effort to substantiate any of that – That’s when it crosses the line.”</p></blockquote> <p>Of course, there is ample evidence that Fox News is operating as the public relations arm of the Republican Party. Fox has had in its employ up to five potential GOP candidates for president. It interviews Republican candidates almost exclusively. It has distributed memos instructing its anchors and reporters to use language that parrots Republican talking points. It has even broadcast reports written by the Republican National Committee word-for-word, displaying accompanying graphics that contained the same typos in the original RNC document. That last bit of journalistic cronyism was the work of current Fox "News Watch" host Jon Scott.</p> <p>Speaking to Politico, Ari Rabin-Havt, the executive vice president of Media Matters, refuted Gray’s assertions saying, “Our contention about Fox News’s political operations are supported by the facts and their own actions, especially during the previous few years.”</p> <p>Media Matters has more than made an effort to substantiate the overtly partisan behavior of Fox. It has proven it beyond a shadow of a doubt. The evidence against Fox is overwhelming. Yet "News Watch" attempted to divert attention away from such evidence by discussing how often Fox was the target of Media Matters, displaying a chart showing that Media Matters had done more stories on Fox News than any other news entity. Why would that surprise anyone? If the mission is to document media misinformation, the most frequent offender is going to show up most frequently.</p> <p>The "News Watch" panel was composed of four conservative defenders of Fox and one lonely, but earnest, liberal, Jehmu Greene. Jon Scott brought up George Soros three separate times, but were it not for Greene no one would have heard about the uber-conservative Media Research Center. The right has its own army of billionaires (Murdoch, Koch, Scaife, Anschutz, Adelson, etc.) funding their partisan enterprise, but no one other than Greene would discuss it. Even after she brought it up, the other panelists scurried away refusing to hear of it. And it should not go without mentioning that Fox News itself is one of MRC’s biggest supporters, regularly featuring MRC’s Brent Bozell, and much of its news content comes straight from MRC. Fox’s former news chief, Brit Hume, thanked the MRC:</p> <blockquote> <p>“…for the tremendous amount of material that the Media Research Center provided me for so many years when I was anchoring Special Report, I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. It was a daily buffet of material to work from, and we certainly made tremendous use of it.”</p></blockquote> <p>As a result of News Watch’s obsession with Media Matters, notable media events of the past week were ignored or abridged. Those events included Michele Bachmann’s entry into the presidential race, Glenn Beck’s final show on Fox, and the president’s contentious news conference. Why would Fox News Watch, a show dedicated to the media, deliberately excise and/or abridge coverage of such significant stories in order to expand coverage of a media-monitoring organization that most Americans have never heard of? Because Fox News is scared.</p> <p>On Tuesday, July 5, Fox News elevated its attack to new levels of absurdity. Fox &amp; Friends’ Doocy brought in Glenn Beck’s co-author and “doctor” Keith Ablow for an interview that careened off into the surreal. Ablow pretended that he could psychoanalyze someone he has never examined or even met. Here is a portion of the exchange:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Steve Doocy</strong>: I understand you’ve done a psychological profile of [Media Matters founder] David Brock. What did you find?</p> <p><strong>Keith Ablow</strong>: Well, look, I looked at him from a distance, but you don’t have to look very hard to see into the man’s mind apparently. This is somebody who seemingly has such low self-esteem, Steve, that he’s lurching from one group to another. Whoever will embrace him and reassure him that he’s a decent guy and be his cheerleader in a dramatic way, that’s who he’s gonna be with. [...] You can’t believe this guy because he’s full of self-hatred which he then projects on the world around him in order to get love. So he’s gotta have somebody to hate because he thinks that’s the way, the best way to galvanize the love in his direction. So yes, it’s always about being a hit man, you know, exposing someone. There’s very sexual connotations here too.</p></blockquote> <p>I pity anyone who actually has this fraud as an analyst. Ablow has no basis whatsoever to arrive at his puerile conclusions. He is merely taking hostile swipes at someone he is being paid to disparage. He should have his license revoked. He fails to provide a single example of anything Brock has done that is incorrect or unsubstantiated.</p> <p>This attack is purely personal. Ablow’s notation of “lurching from one group to another” references the fact that Brock was once a conservative, but is now a liberal. However, Brock was a conservative for many years and, after evolving over time to the left, he has remained liberal for the past decade. Would Ablow regard Andrew Breitbart, David Horowitz, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann -- all former Democrats or liberals -- as lurching, self-haters? </p> <p> <meta charset="utf-8" /></p> <p>Ablow neglects to explain what the “sexual connotations” are. He probably raised that issue to remind his audience that Brock is openly gay, a factor the Fox audience will surely regard as negative. Ablow is in violation of the American Psychiatric Association’s Principles of Medical Ethics (Section 7.3), which state:</p> <blockquote> <p>“On occasion psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individual who is in the light of public attention or who has disclosed information about himself/herself through public media. In such circumstances, a psychiatrist may share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.”</p></blockquote> <p>At the risk of being accused of psychoanalyzing Fox News, I must observe that Fox is obviously afraid -- so afraid of Media Matters that it has become obsessed with destroying it. Fox is afraid that the successful campaign against Glenn Beck will continue to unravel the Fox News bastion of lies, racism and partisan propaganda. While most Americans have probably never heard of Media Matters, Fox is promoting the group to the top of the news pile, even above Casey Anthony. They know that any organization that shines the light of truth on Fox News is going to make things difficult for an enterprise like Fox whose mission is to disseminate disinformation and keep viewers ignorant.</p> <p><object width="400" height="250"><param value="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/ooSzSGTA0q8?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0" name="movie" /><param value="true" name="allowFullScreen" /><param value="always" name="allowscriptaccess" /><embed width="400" height="250" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/ooSzSGTA0q8?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0"></embed></object></p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Fri, 08 Jul 2011 15:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 666906 at http://ww.alternet.org Media Media fox media matters attack 10 Reasons Andrew Breitbart Should Apologize (Or Just Shut Up and Go Away) http://ww.alternet.org/story/151236/10_reasons_andrew_breitbart_should_apologize_%28or_just_shut_up_and_go_away%29 <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Just because Breitbart lucked into being correct about Weiner doesn’t mean his long-established pattern of deception should be dismissed.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Public apologies are often the source of captivating and prurient entertainment. There seems to be a genetic compulsion in the human DNA to observe our heroes, celebrities, and of course, adversaries, fall from grace and beg forgiveness. Monday was Rep. Anthony Weiner’s curtain call, but like any good melodrama, he was upstaged by an ambitious and vainglorious rival, Andrew Breitbart.</p> <p>After commandeering the podium at Weiner’s press conference, Breitbart declared, “I’m here for some vindication.” He portrayed himself as a media-contrived victim of character assassination and challenged the reporters in the room to substantiate their alleged assaults on his reputation.</p> <blockquote> <p>“The media says ‘Breitbart lies, Breitbart lies, Breitbart lies, Breitbart lies.’ Give me one example of a provable lie. One. One. Journalists? One. Put your reputation on the line here.”</p></blockquote> <p>For some reason, no one in the room responded. It’s almost as if the press were clueless stenographers, unfamiliar with Breitbart’s past, and were incapable of providing a substantive rebuttal.</p> <p>This is actually fairly typical of the modern press corps. Another example occurred when the <em>New York Times</em> asked Breitbart about the Weiner affair on Saturday and he attempted to strike a non-partisan tone, saying, “I am as offended when John Ensign acts like an idiot, when Chris Lee acts like an idiot.”<em> </em>However, the <em>Times</em> failed to note that Breitbart’s Big Government blog did not publish a single story about the travails of either Ensign or Lee. Not one single story. How offended was he? Compare that to his obsession with Weiner, which produced 17 separate stories and consumed every single headline (except for the plug for his book), and that was four days after the story broke.</p> <p> <meta charset="utf-8" /></p> <p>For those who are interested, including members of the press who were struck dumb yesterday, here is a brief compilation of Breitbart’s "reportorial" resume, replete with dishonesty and deliberate disinformation. Feel free to offer these in response to Breitbart’s future challenges. We will await his profuse and heartfelt apologies.</p> <p><strong>1) ACORN:</strong> Breibart’s Web site was the central agency for disseminating videos that were later shown to have been heavily edited in order to convey a fictional scenario smearing a social service organization that had for years been assisting low-income citizens with financial advice and voter registration. Every investigation of the affair exonerated ACORN and affirmed the videos' deception. Breitbart’s henchman, James O’Keefe, is being sued by former ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera.</p> <p><strong>2) Shirley Sherrod:</strong> In this episode, Breitbart was responsible for slandering a USDA employee by calling her a racist. Lately he has been defending himself by saying that he had included the “redemptive arc” of her story revealing her innocence. But let’s not forget how he originally portrayed the situation:</p> <blockquote> <p>“In her meandering speech to what appears to be an all-black audience, this federally appointed executive bureaucrat lays out in stark detail, that her federal duties are managed through the prism of race and class distinctions. [...] In the first video, Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer.”</p></blockquote> <p>That is a pretty clear accusation of discriminatory behavior on the part of a federal employee. It is also a lie. Sherrod did not discriminate against the farmer, as Breitbart later acknowledged, and the story she told was about an incident that occurred 20 years before she held a federal post. Nevertheless, Breitbart’s reaction at the time was another demonstration of his paranoid narcissism, as he whined, “As difficult as it probably was for her, it’s been difficult for me as well<em>.”</em> Poor guy. Sherrod is suing Breitbart.</p> <p><strong>3) Clinton Plotting a Tea Party Attack:</strong> Breitbart published a story with no evidence, about an alleged conspiracy that never came to pass:</p> <blockquote> <p>“Big Government has learned that Clintonistas are plotting a ‘push/pull’ strategy. They plan to identify 7-8 national figures active in the tea party movement and engage in deep opposition research on them. If possible, they will identify one or two they can perhaps ‘turn’, either with money or threats, to create a mole in the movement. The others will be subjected to a full-on smear campaign.”</p></blockquote> <p>Also never coming to pass…a retraction. This story bubbled up through the media like much of Breitbart’s fiction, eventually getting coverage from Fox Nation.</p> <p><strong>4) Jason Mattera’s Punking of Grayson and Franken:</strong> Jason Mattera, who later became editor of Human Events, was employed to run a couple of “ambush” interviews that were posted on Breitbart’s Web site. One interview <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=1599">targeted Rep. Alan Grayson</a> and castigated him for his support of a bill that funded a program to prevent child abuse. The other interview was <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=1606">directed at Sen. Al Franken</a>, who was attacked for supporting student health and school safety. In both cases Mattera twisted the purpose of the legislation into something unrecognizable and patently false. Expect more of this, because as Breitbart says in his book, <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=4460">Righteous Indignation</a>, “Ambush journalism is the most valuable kind of journalism."</p> <p><strong>5) University of Missouri Labor Class:</strong> In <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); " href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=4350">another phony video sting</a>, Breitbart published a video of the proceedings of a class on the history of labor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. As usual, the video was a deceitful mashup that misrepresented the professors and students as supporting violent labor activity. The twist here is that it was Breitbart’s one-time friend Glenn Beck who published an accounting of the video deception and vindicated the professors. As a bonus intrigue, the party who gave Breitbart the UM video is identified only as Insurgent Visuals. That, however, may be a ruse to disguise Breitbart’s long-time partner in crime, James O’Keefe.</p> <p><strong>6) Beck’s Back Alley Snitch:</strong> Speaking of Glenn Beck, in happier times when the two weren’t feuding, Breibart was the source for numerous Beck offensives. He provided Beck with scandalous material on Van Jones who, at the time, was a White House adviser on environmental initiatives. Beck lauded Breitbart, saying...</p> <blockquote> <p>"You know where the great journalists of our time are? Andrew Breitbart. [...] You were the only one, besides watchdogs, that were really aggressively working behind the scenes with us on Van Jones."</p></blockquote> <p>The same thing occurred with Yosi Sergant, communications director for the National Endowment for the Arts. Breitbart went after him and provided the data to Beck, who said...</p> <blockquote> <p>"This is again another Breitbart story, where the NEA communications director reached out and said, hey, listen, we have to be very careful with our language here."</p></blockquote> <p>In both cases the information provided by Breitbart was vague and/or untrue, but both Jones and Sergant were jettisoned -- just as Sherrod was -- by a nervous White House for violations that were either false or greatly exaggerated.</p> <p> <meta charset="utf-8" /></p> <p><strong>7) Democrats Plotted to Blame Tea Party for Slaughter:</strong> Breitbart’s site featured an article making the sensationalist claim that Democrats devised a plan to blame the Tea Party for the tragic shooting in Tucson, AZ. The allegation consisted of a single, unidentified source who merely offered his own opinion that the massacre could be pinned on Tea Partiers. There was no allegation of a conspiracy or even of any discussions of such a plan by anyone connected to the Democratic Party. But that didn’t stop Breitbart from posting the story with an irresponsibly provocative headline.</p> <p><strong>8) The Abbie Boudreau Affair:</strong> In one of the most bizarre adventures by the James O’Keefe gang, they set out to lure CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau into a floating love nest to embarrass her in some manner that was never really explained. While Breitbart did not act as the agent for this prank, he did provide a platform for O’Keefe to publish his defense after having been outed by an accomplice. O’Keefe managed to take a situation in which he appeared to be a revolting pervert and make it worse by saying about Boudreau…</p> <blockquote> <p>“She would have had to consent before being filmed and she was not going to be faux ‘seduced’ unless she wanted to be.”</p></blockquote> <p>Considering the fact that he never sought the consent of his previous video victims, why should we accept his assertion that he was going to start seeking consent now? Even more troubling is his implication that his intended victim “wanted” it. O’Keefe is resorting to the disgusting defense that rapists offer about their victims. And Breitbart permitted this to be published on his site.</p> <p><strong>9) GEICO Gecko – Tea Party Crasher?</strong> Breitbart’s Big Government blog posted a mind-numbingly stupid article that accused Ricky Gervais, the actor/comedian and voice of the GEICO gecko, of disparaging the Tea Party in a profanity-laced voice-mail. The only problem is that Gervais had nothing to do with it. It was an actor (D.C. Douglas) who worked for GEICO a couple of years prior. But it wasn’t enough to smear Gervais with insinuations, Breitbart also posted a picture of the gecko atop a table adorned with a poster of President Obama sporting a Hitler mustache. What that had to do with the story is anyone’s guess. It just appeared to be a gratuitous slap at the president while falsely slandering Gervais.</p> <p><strong>10) Racism:</strong> Breitbart is obsessed with the theme of racism. He is convinced the charge is thrown around cavalierly, and mostly to insult Tea Partiers and himself. He embarked on a campaign to prove that congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis was lying when he said he had been the victim of racial epithets when attending a congressional rally.  <meta charset="utf-8" />Breitbart regards the Shirley Sherrod incident as an example of the racism demonstrated by the NAACP. But when discussing allegations of his own prejudice, Breitbart said this to radio host Adam Carolla: </p> <blockquote> <p>“Can I prove that I’m not a racist toward Hispanics? Did you ever see <em>Moscow on the Hudson</em>? Remember Maria Conchita Alonso in that? The things I did to myself as a teenager prove that I’m not a racist.”</p></blockquote> <p>So Breitbart’s proof that he is not a racist is that he used to masturbate to pictures of a Latino actress. Breitbart’s repulsive pride in his perverse view of racial open-mindedness tells us much about him. And he is certainly in no position to assess the veracity of people like John Lewis.</p> <p>This should be a good starting point for the press in case they ever get the chance again to respond to Breitbart’s call for evidence of his dishonesty and low character. Here’s hoping the press is listening and that no one presumes to use the Weiner affair to rehabilitate Breitbart’s reputation. Just because Breitbart lucked into being correct (the way a broken clock is right at least once a day) doesn’t mean that his long-established pattern of deception should be dismissed. Just because Charles Manson didn’t kill Marilyn Monroe doesn’t mean that he’s innocent of every other crime attributed to him.</p> <p>Breitbart deserves no accolades over this, and he still owes the many people he deliberately harmed an apology. Weiner, at least, was man enough to own up to his mistakes, eventually. </p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist, author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Tue, 07 Jun 2011 12:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 666588 at http://ww.alternet.org The Right Wing The Right Wing right-wing conservative weiner breitbart Are Roger Ailes' Fox News Freaks Inadvertently Helping Democrats? http://ww.alternet.org/story/151052/are_roger_ailes%27_fox_news_freaks_inadvertently_helping_democrats <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Fox is bad for journalism and Democracy. It is bad for America. But is it also bad for the GOP?</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div> <p>An article just published by New York Magazine is getting attention for its revelations about what Fox CEO Roger Ailes really thinks about his on-air personalities. The article titled <em><a href="http://nymag.com/print/?/news/media/roger-ailes-fox-news-2011-5/" target="_blank">“The Elephant in the Green Room,”</a></em> began with this colorful introduction:</p> <blockquote> <p>“The circus Roger Ailes created at Fox News made his network $900 million last year. But it may have lost him something more important: the next election.”</p></blockquote> <center><br /></center> <p>Amongst the insider disclosures in the NYMag article are that Ailes thinks Sarah Palin is an idiot who hasn’t helped the conservative movement. Ailes also reportedly worried that Glenn Beck had become bigger than Fox News and was uncontrollable. Both of those assessments are obviously true, but what is unsaid is even more interesting.</p> <p>Roger Ailes is directly responsible for elevating Palin and Beck to their current celebrity status. He cannot absolve himself of having inflicted those pests on America without admitting how dreadfully wrong he was in the first place by promoting them. Furthermore, he cannot pretend that they are aberrations. The Fox schedule is rife with the very same pestilence (see <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=4217" target="_blank">Why Fox News After Glenn Beck Will Still Suck</a>). It is their trademark and extends far beyond any individual personalities.</p> <p>The case was made long ago that Fox News is a blight on the media map. It is bad for journalism. It is bad for Democracy. It is bad for America. A so-called <em>“news”</em> network that repeatedly misinforms, even deliberately disinforms, its audience is failing any test of public service embodied by an ethical press.</p> <p>However, there is a case to be made that Fox News is demonstrably harmful to the Republican Party. In fact, it may be the worst thing to happen to Republicans in decades. That may seem counter-intuitive when discussing Fox News, the acknowledged public relations division of the GOP. Fox has populated its air with right-wing mouthpieces and brazenly partisan advocates for a conservative Republican agenda. They <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/200902100019" target="_blank">read GOP press releases</a> on the air verbatim as if they were the product of original research. They provide a forum where Republican politicians and pundits can peddle their views unchallenged. So how is this harmful to Republicans?</p> <p>If all we were witnessing was the emergence of a mainstream conservative network that aspired to advance Republican themes and policies, there would not be much of note here. Most of the conventional media was already center-right before there was a Fox News. But Fox has corralled a stable of the most disreputable, unqualified, extremist, lunatics ever assembled, and is presenting them as experts, analysts, and leaders. These third-rate icons of idiocy are marketed by Fox like any other gag gift (i.e. pet rocks, plastic vomit, Sarah Palin, etc.). So while most Americans have never heard of actual Republican party bosses like House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, posers like Joe the Plumber and Andrew Breitbart have become household names.</p> <p>Fox News has descended into depths heretofore reserved for fringe characters. They are openly promoting the <a href="http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/200907160002" target="_blank">wackos</a> who believe that President Obama is ineligible to hold office because he isn’t a U.S. citizen. They feature commentaries by <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,528946,00.html" target="_blank">secessionists</a> and even those calling for an <a href="http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2295624/posts" target="_blank">overthrow</a> of the government and the Constitution. This development was inadvertently addressed by one of Fox’s own:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>“If crazy ideologues have infiltrated the news business, we need to know about it.”</em> ~ Bill O’Reilly, 7/16/09</p></blockquote> <p>Well said. The Fox News audience is being dumbed down by a parade of paranoid know-nothings. This strategy appears to be successful for Fox in that it has attracted a loyal viewership that is eager to have their twisted preconceptions affirmed. The conflict-infused fare in which Fox specializes has been a ratings juggernaut – just like any good fiction. However, this perceived popularity is having an inordinate impact on the GOP platform. By doubling down on crazy, Fox is driving the center of the Republican Party further down the rabid hole. They are reshaping the party into a more radicalized community of conspiracy nuts. So even as this helps Rupert Murdoch’s bottom line, it is making celebrities of political bottom-feeders.</p> <p>That can’t be good for the long-term prospects of the Republican Party. Most Americans do not believe that we are on a march toward socialism, led by a Muslim alien, and bankrolled by a Jewish Nazi sympathizer. The truth is that most Americans think that the loopy yarns spun by Fox News are fables told by madmen – and believed by even madder men and women who wallow in their doomsday utopia.</p> <p>Consequently, the Party of Fox News has materially damaged their political allies in the GOP. Many of the recent candidates endorsed by Fox were embarrassing losers. There was Christine O’Donnell (DE), Joe Miller (AK), Ken Buck (CO), Linda McMahon (CT), Carly Fiorina (CA), Sharron Angle (NV), and Carl Paladino (NY). In every one of those cases the Tea Party candidate ousted the more establishment Republican, and then went on to defeat. And that was during a Republican wave election cycle.</p> <p>This is a textbook example of how the extreme rises to the top. It is also fundamentally contrary to the interests of the Republican Party. The more the population at large associates Republican ideology with the agenda of Fox News, and the fringe operators residing there, the more the party will be perceived as out of touch, or even out of their minds. It seems like such a waste after all of the effort and expense that Fox put into building a pseudo-journalistic enterprise with the goal of confounding viewers with false news-like theatrics.</p> <p>The recent GOP presidential primary debate in South Carolina illustrated this divide between the interests of Fox News and those of the Republican Party. The only candidates they could muster were second and third tier players with little chance of getting the nomination: Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain. These candidates generally pull in single digits in most polling. And of these, Cain, the pizza maven, was widely regarded as the winner by pundits and Fox focus groups.</p> <p>The rest of the field has been dominated by sideshows like Palin, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Donald Trump, or abstainers like Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, Haley Barbour, and Mitch Daniels. This deficiency of serious contenders was lamented by Ailes in the NYMag article:</p> <blockquote> <p>“Ailes’s ­candidates-in-­waiting were coming up small. And, for all his programming genius, he was more interested in a real narrative than a television narrative – he wanted to elect a president. All he had to do was watch Fox’s May 5 debate in South Carolina to see what a mess the field was – a mess partly created by the loudmouths he’d given airtime to and a tea party he’d nurtured.”</p></blockquote> <p>Ailes has no one to blame but himself. His mission for Fox News has always been to be the voice of the opposition. Yet, despite the torrid embrace between Republicans and Fox News, it is apparent that Fox is the source of a sort of friendly fire that is decimating the GOP by exalting its most outlandish and unpopular players. The Psycho-Chicken Littles are coming home to roost.</p> <p>Even if we give Ailes the benefit of a doubt, and accept that he may have had an awakening and repentance, the disparaging characterizations of Beck and Palin are going to have to be addressed. Will Palin post an angry Tweet refudiating Ailes and defending her smartness? Will Beck place Ailes’ picture on his blackboard in between Karl Marx and Frances Fox Piven? Will Ailes issue a press release disclaiming the NYMag article? If so, he will, in effect, be re-embracing the unsavory characters from whom he seems so anxious to distance himself. So far, the only response has come in the form of a <a href="http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/23/fox-news-executives-say-ailes-not-critical-of-palin/" target="_blank">statement</a> to the New York Times from Fox News executive vice president of programming, Bill Shine:</p> <blockquote> <p>“I know for a fact that Roger Ailes admires and respects Sarah Palin and thinks she is smart. He also believes many members of the left-wing media are extremely terrified and threatened by her. Despite a massive effort to destroy Sarah Palin, she is still on her feet and making a difference in the political world. As for the ‘Republican close to Ailes’ for which the incorrect Palin quote is attributed, when Roger figures out who that is, I guarantee you he or she will no longer be ‘close to Ailes.’”</p></blockquote> <p>Is there any significance to the fact that Ailes did not respond himself? He is not exactly a shrinking violet. He has made it clear in the past that he would not tolerate anyone <em>“shooting in the tent.”</em> Yet now he is conspicuously silent and the statement from Fox defended only Sarah Palin. Fox didn’t refute the article’s characterization of Ailes’ view of the presidential field. There was also no denial that Ailes actively recruited Christie (and perhaps others) to run for president, not exactly the role of the head of a <em>“fair and balanced”</em> news network. Plus, it left out Beck entirely. There is more than a hint of plausibility that Ailes has deliberately withdrawn from criticizing the article.</p> <p>So where does this leave Fox viewers? If Palin is an idiot and Beck is a lunatic, what shall we call the folks who have idolized them for so long? By finally telling the truth about his star pundits, Ailes has insulted his gullible audience. They obediently followed Caribou Barbie and the Weeping Profit for two years only to find out that they are frauds who don’t even have the respect of their co-workers or their boss. Who will lead them now? Charlie Sheen? Victoria Jackson? I believe Harold Camping may be available. Perhaps they could just let the people decide with new episodes of <em>Tea Party Idol</em> or <em>So You Think You Can Rant</em>.</p> </div> <p> </p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Mon, 23 May 2011 12:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 666431 at http://ww.alternet.org The Right Wing The Right Wing fox glenn beck sarah palin South Dakota Outlaws Guns?! http://ww.alternet.org/story/150932/south_dakota_outlaws_guns%21 <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Alright, not really. But imagine the outcry if lawmakers did to gun laws what they&#039;ve done to a woman&#039;s right to control her own body?</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>A new proposal has been introduced in the South Dakota state legislature that would upend the Constitutionally protected right to bear arms. This complex and insidious scheme, if enacted, would virtually eliminate access to guns by law abiding citizens. Here are the hoops that the legislation would require honest South Dakotans to jump through:</p> <ul><li>Before being granted a permit, the purchaser would be required to listen to a legislature-written lecture on gun violence.</li> <li>There would then be a 24 hour waiting period.</li> <li>On returning to the permit office, there would be a mandatory viewing of photos and films of gun violence.</li> <li>The purchaser would then have to visit a state-accredited weapons training center.</li> <li>Then return to the permit office where there would be another lecture about the dangers of guns.</li> <li>Then another two hour wait before a permit would be issued.</li> </ul><p>This process is grossly unfair and serves only to make access to guns unnecessarily difficult. What makes it even worse is that there are presently no state-accredited weapons training centers as stipulated in the law, so the conditions required for acquiring a permit are actually impossible to meet. This has the effect of making gun ownership itself impossible.</p> <p>This would be an outrageous violation of the Constitution’s second amendment except for one thing: none of it is true. At least insofar as guns are concerned. However, another Constitutionally protected right is being violated in South Dakota in precisely the same way:</p> <ul><li>Before an abortion can be performed the patient would be required to listen to a legislature-written lecture on abortion.</li> <li>There would then be a 24 hour waiting period.</li> <li>On returning to the doctor’s office, there would be a mandatory viewing of a sonogram.</li> <li>The patient would then have to visit a state-accredited crisis pregnancy counseling center.</li> <li>Then return to the doctor’s office where there would be another lecture about alleged health dangers of abortion.</li> <li>Then another two hour wait before the abortion could be performed.</li> </ul><p>And of course, there really are no state-accredited crisis pregnancy counseling centers in South Dakota, so the conditions required for getting an abortion are actually impossible to meet.</p> <p>What I have to wonder is how these extremist Christian conservatives can lay claim to a philosophy of small government? How can they profess to desire a state that is prohibited from interfering in the private lives of citizens, especially when it violates their rights? How can they assert these principles when it comes to gun ownership, but completely abandon them when it comes to the most private medical decisions?</p> <p>Is it just because men, for the most part, want their guns to play with, and are trusted to use them responsibly, but women cannot be trusted to make decisions about their own bodies?</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Thu, 12 May 2011 14:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, News Corpse 666284 at http://ww.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics Gender Civil Liberties abortion south south dakota guns GOP Hitman Andrew Breitbart's Confessional Memoir: I Wouldn't Be a Foul, Raging Jerk If I Had Made It in Hollywood http://ww.alternet.org/story/150901/gop_hitman_andrew_breitbart%27s_confessional_memoir%3A_i_wouldn%27t_be_a_foul%2C_raging_jerk_if_i_had_made_it_in_hollywood <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Andrew Breitbart serves up thin gruel in his clownish memoir-manifesto, &quot;Righteous Indignation.&quot;</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>While a student at Tulane University in the late 1980s, Andrew Breitbart was known for two things: rollerblading around campus in derby shorts, and making proud shows of his lack of intellectual curiosity. A scene in <i>Righteous Indignation</i>, Breitbart’s new memoir-manifesto, finds him rolling up to a group of sorority girls and asking them to choose his major for him as the deadline approaches.  </p> <p> <meta charset="utf-8" /></p> <p>Not much has changed over the decades. Andrew Breitbart is <a href="http://www.thehotjoints.com/2011/01/31/video-rollerblading-breitbart-confronts-anti-capitalism-protesters/" target="_blank">still rollerblading</a>. He’s also still pretty forthright about his general lack of interest in most of what makes up the day’s news. This is true even of the subjects on which he has staked his name.</p> <p>“In June 2009,” he writes in the opening sentence to <i>Righteous Indignation</i>, “I didn’t know much about the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.” Although soon to enter conservative lore as a slayer of ACORN, Breitbart cops to only ever knowing the Fox News propaganda line on the organization. This consists largely of the lie, repeated here by Breitbart, that ACORN was “linked with severe voter fraud.”</p> <p>No footnote is attached to this assertion for good reason. Later in the book, Breitbart has this to say about media appearances by Bertha Lewis -- then ACORN’s CEO -- in defense of her organization: “We knew that we were drawing blood when ACORN abandoned white spokesperson Scott Levenson in favor of the dashiki-clad African-American Bertha Lewis. Clearly, political correctness, the race card, and Alinksy were going to be their playbook -- a tried-and-true defense.”  </p> <p>As Breitbart makes repetitively clear in <i>Righteous Indignation</i> (Grand Central Publishing), he doesn’t really care about ACORN, economics, or anything much else. What he cares about are his commando raids against the Hollywood and media establishments. Breitbart recalls that after James O’Keefe said he planned to use the ACORN tapes to take down ACORN, Breitbart replied, “No. We’re going to take down the media.”  </p> <p> <meta charset="utf-8" /></p> <p>“I didn't want to react to the news at all, writes Breitbart. “I wanted to drive the news cycle." In the six years since helping to launch Huffington Post—more about that in a minute—he has succeeded. Breitbart has emerged as the leader of the new breed of rightwing media activist. His chain of “Big” sites and his promotion of undercover videos have earned him iconic status on the right and endless epitaphs from the left. Breitbart does not argue with charges of peddling slime. “We don’t fight fair; we fight righteous,” he writes. Breitbart insists that President Obama was elected by the mainstream media “through platitudes and misdirection” and says that it therefore never crossed my mind whether I should play fair” in releasing the ACORN tapes. “Fair loses."</p> <p>Maybe. But it also keeps you out of court. In February, Shirley Sherrod served Breitbart papers over the doctored video he released that got her fired from the Department of Agriculture. Fighting fair also helps maintain a minimum of credibility, his store of which Breitbart has depleted in record time.  </p> <p>As political and media analysis, <em>Righteous Indignation</em> is thin gruel even by Conservative Book Club standards. Its prose is constructed of granite-slab clichés, mortared with the thin bile and rabid drool of a man whose two authorial modes are sycophant (he calls Matt Drudge and Roger Ailes “visionaries” by page four) and spoiled, hyperactive child (he tells his lawyer after seeing the ACORN videos, “I want it. I want it I want it I want it I want it I want it”). </p> <p>As a window into the mind and soul of an ascendant and uniquely shameless force on the right, however, <em>Righteous Indignation</em> fascinates, and demands at least a fraction of the attention demanded by its man-child author. What emerges in these pages is a self-portrait of the post-intellectual rightwing activist-provocateur as overgrown Hollywood brat, so debilitated by ADHD he must take to an airplane to escape the Internet and find the peace of mind to construct a single complete English sentence.  </p> <p>“This book,” writes Breitbart, “marks the first time since 2004 that I’ve felt compelled to communicate a set of ideas that couldn’t be related on Twitter or Facebook, on a blog, in a chat room, with AOL Instant Messenger, via Skype, or on Blog Talk Radio.” </p> <p>Yes, we can tell.  </p> <p>It won’t surprise anyone who has followed Breitbart’s ascent to learn that he is driven by hatred of the Hollywood and media establishments. A very deep and personal hatred. What becomes clear in these pages is the way these hatreds have origins in self-loathing and narcissism of a geographically specific type. The key is Breitbart’s rearing and life in Tinsel Town, a community he desperately wanted to be a part of, but which, it appears, wanted nothing to do with him. </p> <p>Breitbart’s story begins in Brentwood privilege, the adopted son of a successful restaurateur. He early absorbed the local obsession with fame, connections and status. He writes of the joy he experienced whenever he bumped up against the local royalty, as when he had the same tennis instructor as Farrah Fawcett and Arnold Schwarzenegger. When his family rented their Winnebago to John Ritter, the young Breitbart “bragged about it in school for weeks.” In fact, he never stopped. But despite his aspiring to the glamorous life, the first half of the book describes a confused, ignorant, manic-depressive loser seething with self-hatred.</p> <p>After high school, Breitbart attended Tulane, where he joined the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and drank and gambled away his parents’ money. In the Big Easy, Breitbart concentrated on partying and avoided what he now disparages as Marxist academia. He now believes that his boorish immaturity was a blessing in that it prevented him from being co-opted by what he calls the “cultural fascisti.”  </p> <p>Breitbart complains that he was exposed to a raft of deeply anti-American ideas. As an American Studies major, he writes, he was subjected to the evil thoughts of émigré Critical Theorists like Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, who he blames for destroying everything good in postwar America. It is impossible to overstate Breitbart’s hatred for these “boring and bleating philosophers” who escaped the Nazis and “exploit[ed]” America’s openness and liberty by deploying “ideological Anthrax.” </p> <p>At one point, Breitbart fantasizes about choking the life out of these mid-century refugee philosophers. “If I could go back in a time machine, I would go back to strangle these malcontents,” he writes.  </p> <p>Not read them. Strangle them. </p> <p>Or at least that’s what it says in a <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/201104290022" target="_blank">review copy</a> of Breitbart's book provided to Media Matters<i>.</i> Someone apparently sanitized this line at the last moment, because in the final, published version, it now reads, “If I could go back in a time machine, I would go back to kick these malcontents in their shins.”  </p> <p>Strangulation aside, not everyone remembers Tulane as the Marxist nightmare that Breitbart describes. “The required courses in American Studies included two semesters each of American Literature and History,” says a former director of Tulane’s American Studies Department who taught and remembers Breitbart. “We used the <em>Norton Antholog</em><em>y</em>—very middle-of-the-road, canonical stuff.” Among the “cultural Marxists” the young Breitbart was supposed to study but didn’t were the Puritans, Franklin, Edwards, Emerson, Thoreau, Twain, Hawthorne, Melville, and Stowe. According to this professor, not even the more advanced interdisciplinary seminars at Tulane offered much critical theory.  </p> <p>So perhaps it isn’t surprising that Breitbart would not have graduated at all but for his pleading with a professor for mercy. “I need to graduate,” he remembers begging. “I have family and friends coming in from out of town tomorrow. We have reservations at Commander's Palace.”  <br />    <br /> Upon graduation, Breitbart returned to L.A., where his parents bought him a new Saab and continued to support him. He used the graduation gift to tool around doing a series of entry-level jobs on the margins of the film industry. With time, he says he began to chafe against the “default” nihilistic liberalism he had absorbed from the culture around him, “as if by osmosis.” Eventually a friend got him a runner position at a low-budget movie production company in Santa Monica. “For a year I delivered scripts around town, entering every single Hollywood office of note, including Michael Ovitz's, Jeffrey Katzenberg's, and Michael Eisner's. It wasn't long before I saw clearly what made Hollywood run.” By this he means liberal politics and schmoozing.</p> <p>The only success Breitbart had in the film world was in wooing the daughter of a famous movie star. This led him to rejoice that “Not only was I working in Hollywood, I was dating the daughter of Orson Bean.” It was Orson who introduced Breitbart to the Rush Limbaugh radio program and set him on his current course. Other than that, his Movieville escapades were a bust. <br />    <br /> Having found an outlet for his rage by listening to AM talk radio, Breitbart quickly turned on his former idols, developing an all-consuming bitterness. In seeking excuses for his stagnating career, he endeavored mightily to absolve himself by concluding that, “Leftists without credentials in Hollywood made it because they were leftists.” The entirety of his justification for having failed was that his (still inchoate) politics were unpopular, not him. As he describes it, the bitter conservative paranoia he felt during this time is redolent of John Carpenter’s sci-fi classic <i>They Live</i>. “The [Media-Democrat] Complex surrounded me 24/7 in the form of attractive people making millions of dollars whose moral relativism, historical revisionism, and collective cultural nihilism put them in the same boat as the martyrs of radical Islam.” <br />   <br /> For Breitbart, these “attractive people” who make our films are really no different from those who would detonate a nuclear bomb in Santa Monica. The troubled Breitbart has turned political disagreements into deranged holy war. And he does mean <i>war</i>. His hatred for the left is matched only by his love of violent martial metaphors. Every other page of <i>Righteous Indignation</i> invites the reader to envision the author as a new media fighting general—a Patton or MacArthur ordering cyber-sieges on the turreted citadels of “attractive” liberal power. He speaks of being “morally obligated” by his “patriotic duty” to “take up those weapons at my disposal” because he is “well-trained and well-positioned for this battle.” It is amusingly easy to imagine the author playing on the carpet with <i>Entertainment Tonight</i> action-figures and making his own sound effects. Here he is attempting to put his work into some sort of world-historical context:  </p> <blockquote> <p>Make no mistake: America is in a media war. It is an extension of the Cold War that never ended but shifted to an electronic front. The war between freedom and statism ended geographically when the Berlin Wall fell. But the existential battle never ceased. When the Soviet Union disintegrated, the battle simply took a different form.   </p></blockquote> <p>Yes, Andrew, the Cold War simply took a different form. From tens of thousands of thermonuclear hair-triggers and divisions of heavy armor, to <i>Real Time with Bill Maher</i> and <i> Red Eye</i> with Greg Gutfeld. From half of Europe living under totalitarian rule, to Alec and Stephen Baldwin.  </p> <p>Breitbart is despondent that so few of his fellow conservatives share his monomania, or grasp why new media is the key to destroying the left—“the ruthless, relentless, shameless enemy we face.” The only reason liberals continue to win the culture war, he says, is because they intuitively grasp that media and entertainment are the ultimate high ground. He bemoans that the people who most “get it” include Oprah, Bono and Obama. Writes Breitbart: “Corey Feldman gets it.” </p> <p>If an out-of-nowhere Corey Feldman reference seems odd, it shouldn’t. Breitbart’s worldview as articulated in <i>Righteous Indignation</i> is the adolescent media determinism of a not-too-bright, spurned L.A. striver who never left Brentwood. The book reads like something a younger Corey Feldman might have spilled onto the page after snorting a methamphetamine caterpillar off an old copy of <i>The Gutenberg Galaxy</i>. “The left <i>is </i> the media,” writes a spastic Breitbart. “Narrative is everything.” </p> <p>In the mid-1990s, Breitbart came into contact and became infatuated with journalism of a certain kind. The key figure was Matt Drudge, with whom Breitbart had become “Internet friends." Drudge introduced Breitbart to the then-conservative Arianna Huffington, who hired him to help research corruption in the Clinton White House. When he helped Huffington get her first “scalp” (anyone remember Larry Lawrence?) Breitbart realized he “needed to find a way to do this for a living.”  </p> <p>Which brings us to Breitbart’s work in the early days of the Huffington Post. Breitbart portrays himself as being an ideological “double agent” who was secretly setting up the lefty media by building a trap wherein they would be wedded to their “crazy ideas.” In his telling, he designed HuffPo as a form of undercover sabotage. He thought:</p> <ul><p>“What,” I said, “if we can get the collective left that we have dinner with, cocktail parties with, the left that talks crazy in private but only expresses itself at the Daily Kos under pseudonyms—what if we can get them all to put their names next to their crazy ideas? What if we can make it a one-stop shop for exposing liberals for who they are, and forcing them to stand by their positions?<i> <br /></i></p> </ul><p>This makes no sense whatsoever. In 2005, there was no shortage of liberals (on the Internet, television, and radio) using their real names and taking strong positions on the Bush administration, the war in Iraq, the economy, and more. Breitbart is asking us to believe that his participation at HuffPo was all part of a devious plot to crush liberal Hollywood. How would he do this? By constructing a web platform that would promote progressive issues, elevate liberal spokespersons, advance the Democratic agenda, and make millions for its proprietor. Of course! It’s hard not to think of Pee Wee Herman falling off his bicycle, jumping up, and defiantly claiming, “I meant to do that!” </p> <p>Whether or not the opinions expressed on the Huffington Post hurt the left, it’s looking increasingly likely that those expressed on Breitbart’s “Big” sites will end up hurting the right. His contributors dabble in birtherism and other assorted Obama conspiracies. Nor is Breitbart himself immune to conspiracism. In <i>Righteous Indignation</i>, Breitbart writes that President Obama’s memoir was “probably” “ghostwritten” by Bill Ayers. In an interview with Media Matters, Breitbart expanded on his suspicions. “This guy is a progressive’s wet dream, and there are reasons for it, and I’d like to know what those reasons are,” he said. “There were people that were going to come forward to me, who were scared for their lives because they claim — they claim — and I have no confirmation of this -- that Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were regular babysitters of ... they’re incredibly close.”  </p> <p>There is only one takeaway from <i> Righteous Indignation</i>: Breitbart’s life is a revenge fantasy against Hollywood and the “attractive people making millions” he believes slighted him. Had they been nicer to him—and not made him “their manservant” as he describes his treatment at HuffPo—he wouldn’t have become such a foul, raging jerk. Let this be a lesson to us all in our dealings with even the most incompetent, disagreeable colleagues. Be nice to them lest they grow up to be media hacks with powerful microphones and Plymouth Rock on their shoulder, just itching to write their <i> Hollywood Dearest</i> memoirs.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His artwork has been displayed internationally. Alexander Zaitchik is a Brooklyn-based freelance journalist and AlterNet contributing writer. His book, <a href="http://www.powells.com/partner/32513/biblio/9780470557396">Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance</a>, is published by Wiley &amp; Sons. </div></div></div> Tue, 10 May 2011 12:00:01 -0700 Alexander Zaitchik, Mark Howard, AlterNet 666324 at http://ww.alternet.org Books Books The Right Wing book manifesto andrew breitbart breitbart righteous indignation Ayn Rand Movie Fails in Free Market (Despite Tea Party Hype) http://ww.alternet.org/story/150703/ayn_rand_movie_fails_in_free_market_%28despite_tea_party_hype%29 <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The reviews of &quot;Atlas Shrugged&quot; have been merciless. And despite a major push by Tea Party networks, Ayn Rand&#039;s paean to ego-centrism has not drawn audiences.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The film version of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s soporific paean to malevolent ego-centrism, has finally been released to the throngs of slobbering Tea Baggers desperate for some cinematic validation. Sadly for these pathetic flim(flam) buffs, this flick hardly fills the void in their lost souls.</p> <p>The movie is being released as <i>“Part 1″</i> with the promise of two more in the unlikely event that this one turns a profit. But the <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/atlas-shrugged-first-movie-target-175724?_r=true" target="_blank">circumstances of its production</a> foretell its dreary fate. Producer John Aglialoro has stated publicly that he was forced to commence production a few days short of the expiration of his rights to the book. As a result it was hurried into production without a script or a cast. He also admitted that casting was difficult because <i>“Talent agencies were not sending us many of their top people.”</i> Apparently no one of note wanted to be associated with a project that had been aborted on numerous occasions. That’s why one of the most popular books of the last half century is coming to the screen with unknown TV talent in the leads. The director complained that he didn’t have the necessary time to make the movie he wanted to make. It’s almost as if the principals are preemptively making excuses for why the movie sucks so bad. And they aren’t the the only ones who think so. The reviews have been merciless:</p> <blockquote> <p><b>Roger Ebert:</b> “The most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone’s vault. I suspect only someone very familiar with Rand’s 1957 novel could understand the film at all, and I doubt they will be happy with it.”</p> <p><b>Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal:</b> “The book was published in 1957, yet the clumsiness of this production makes it seem antediluvian.”</p> <p><b>Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic:</b> “It has taken decades to bring Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ to the big screen. They should have waited longer.”</p> <p><b>Kurt Loder, Reason Online:</b> “The new, long-awaited film version of Atlas Shrugged is a mess, full of embalmed talk, enervated performances, impoverished effects, and cinematography that would barely pass muster in a TV show. Sitting through this picture is like watching early rehearsals of a stage play that’s clearly doomed.”</p> <p><b>Peter Dubruge, Variety:</b> “Part one of a trilogy that may never see completion, this hasty, low-budget adaptation would have Ayn Rand spinning in her grave.”</p> <p><b>Washington Post:</b> “Nearly as stilted, didactic and simplistic as Rand’s free-market fable.”</p></blockquote> <p>Some of the most damning criticism highlighted above comes from those who might otherwise be considered the film’s target audience, for instance the Wall Street Journal (Fox’s newsprint cousin) and Reason Magazine (the imprint of Randian Libertarianism).</p> <p>From the start the film’s prospects were dim. It was an independent with little backing and decades of false starts. In order to preserve his rights, Aglialoro bankrolled the project with $10 million of his own money. Without a heavyweight distributor they had to be creative. So they hit up the Tea Party circuit for support.</p> <p>A trailer for the film debuted at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. It was screened for such cultural tastemakers as John Boehner, and Andrew Breitbart (yes, that was sarcasm). Then they brought in the big guns: FreedomWorks, the AstroTurf Tea Party organizers sponsored by the billionaire Koch brothers. Matt Kibbe, the president and CEO of FreedomWorks went to work promoting the film via his Freedom Connector social network (which has been prominently plugged by Glenn Beck), and a massive email list. It doesn’t appear to have worked.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=atlasshrugged.htm" target="_blank">boxoffice</a> for the opening weekend, timed to coincide with the federal tax filing deadline, was middling at best. The movie pulled in $1.7 million for three days from 300 screens. The take dropped nearly 50% from Friday to Sunday, which doesn’t bode well for increasing the number of screens in the weeks ahead (and the universally dreadful reviews won’t help either). The filmmakers are already touting the per-screen attendance numbers, but what they fail to acknowledge is that per-screen sales are generally higher for limited releases because more people are funneled into fewer venues.</p> <p>The truth is that the Tea Party marketing has been less than spectacular (perhaps because <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=4022" target="_blank">the Tea Party doesn’t actually exist</a>). If FreedomWorks has a couple of million people on their mailing list and all of the film’s viewers were FreedomWorkers (not likely), then 90% of their supporters ignored the call to action. The weak turnout by the Tea Party set mirrors their <a href="http://www.thenation.com/video/160026/tea-party-phenomenon-over" target="_blank">weakness at the annual Tax Day rallies</a> where mere dozens bothered to show up.</p> <p>The affinity for Ayn Rand by the Tea Party has always been a bit of a mystery. Sure, there is a shared hostility for government, particularly when it endeavors to fulfill its Constitutional obligation to provide for the general welfare. Both Rand and the TP’s despise efforts to aid society’s less fortunate, whom they believe deserve to suffer. But how do predominantly Christian, patriot, Tea Partyers justify their idolization of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7zwO88nRH8" target="_blank">an anti-American, atheist</a> who regards compassion as evil and selfishness as the pinnacle of human values?</p> <p>Ironically, a key theme of the book and the film is the rejection of society by the wealthy business class who mysteriously disappear. There is a correlation to that plot point in contemporary America as we have already witnessed the disappearance of business luminaries like Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, Jack Abramoff, Dennis Kozlowski, Bernard Ebbers, and John Rigas, to name a few. It doesn’t appear that society has suffered from their absence. Yet there is another industrial titan who not only hasn’t vanished, he is masquerading across the airwaves as a presidential candidate. I’m not sure Ayn Rand would approve of this, however, the popularity of Donald Trump at Tea Parties is perfectly understandable. He is the ultimate manifestation of Randian politics: a greedy, conceited, selfish bully. But for every Tea Party supporter there are probably twenty other Americans who wish that Trump would <i>“go Galt.”</i></p> <p>There is another curious irony in the marketing strategy for the film. Tea Partyers and other Rand fans were furiously emailing appeals to their friends and Facebook buddies to implore them to see the movie -- not because they considered it great cinema, they hadn’t seen it yet -- but because strong ticket sales would somehow validate the book’s principles. In Rand’s world money equals truth. They regard the quality of the film as secondary to the need for box office success in order to advance their agenda and to prove the power of the Tea Party as a consumer/political force. In other words, these Utopian free marketeers were afraid to trust the free market to decide the film’s fate.</p> <p>Alas for them, it will anyway. And in the end, all anyone will remember of this drivel is that, when moviegoers were presented with a poorly planned, shoddily executed load of dreck, the audience shrugged.</p> <p>This is far more entertaining:</p> <div style="background-color: rgb(0, 0, 0); width: 520px;"><div style="padding: 4px;"><embed width="512" height="288" flashvars="" base="." allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:video:colbertnation.com:221335"></embed></div> </div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Thu, 21 Apr 2011 08:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, News Corpse 666084 at http://ww.alternet.org Media Media Economy Culture The Right Wing movies ayn rand atlas shrugged 10 Reasons Fox News Is Just as Awful with or Without Glenn Beck http://ww.alternet.org/story/150563/10_reasons_fox_news_is_just_as_awful_with_or_without_glenn_beck <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Fox earned its nefarious reputation long before Beck arrived and there is every indication it will remain long after he’s gone.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><blockquote><br /> “If I were lying I’d be off the air.”<em>~ Glenn Beck, Jan 4, 2010.</em><br /> “I’m going to be leaving this program later this year.”<em>~ Glenn Beck, Apr 6, 2011.</em><br /></blockquote> <div style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80);" class="im"> </div> <div style="color: rgb(80, 0, 80);" class="im">Last week we got the not-surprising news that Glenn Beck is leaving Fox News. <span style="font-family: arial,sans-serif; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">Much of the discussion about Beck's departure in the corporate media has revolved around what Beck will do without Fox, and what Fox will do without Beck. Not to worry: the worst of Beck's haunted imagination is securely woven into the Fox News dis-comforter. The trademark Fox invective, sophistry, and bias predate Glenn Beck and will outlive him.</span></div> <p>Media insiders seem preoccupied with the open animosity for Beck among his Fox colleagues, who said his doomsday rhetoric and conspiracy theories give the network a bad name. The purveyors of conventional wisdom are concerned about Fox’s "credibility" and are scrambling to defend it:</p> <blockquote><br /><strong><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 204); color: rgb(34, 34, 34);" class="il">Howard</span> Kurtz, CNN, The Daily Beast:</strong>…many senior Fox executives are relieved to be rid of Beck. <em>[and]</em>… some journalists and executives at the network privately expressed concern that Beck was becoming the face of the network.<br /><br /><strong>George Will, ABC News Washington Post:</strong> I think that Glenn Beck and his drift into more bizarre and extreme positions was threatening the Fox brand. So I wish Glenn Beck health and happiness but I think the health and happiness of Fox is served by his departure.<br /><br /><strong>Michael Harrison, editor of Talkers Magazine:</strong> You can’t be a rodeo clown and maintain credibility.<br /><br /><strong>Matt Lewis, The Daily Caller:</strong> My take is that while Beck’s show was individually a ratings hit, he also risked tarnishing the overall Fox News “brand.”<br /><br /><strong>Jeffrey McCall, professor of media studies, DePauw University:</strong> Beck was no longer just a personality with a show on FNC. He became an easy target for Fox News critics to characterize him as representative of the entire channel.<br /></blockquote> <p><br /> These august observers have frightfully short memories. The truth is that Fox earned its nefarious reputation long before Beck arrived and there is every indication it will remain long after he’s gone. In fact, it’s that reputation that made Beck such a good fit to begin with and lured him to the network despite his admitted reluctance when first approached. The pundits who are advancing the premise that by losing Beck Fox can be redeemed are, to put it kindly, mistaken. Here is why Fox News without Glenn Beck will be just as bad as Fox News with Glenn Beck:<br /><br /><strong>1) Bill O’Reilly:</strong> Before Beck called President Obama a racist, Bill O’Reilly ventured to Sylvia’s in Harlem and expressed his surprised that the mostly African-American patrons weren’t acting like primitives. And when the First Lady was criticized for expressing her pride that America had evolved to the point where they would elect an African-American president O’Reilly <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=806" style="color: rgb(42, 93, 176);" target="_blank">considerately declared</a> that <em>“I don’t want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there’s evidence.”</em> Nice choice of words.<br /><br /><strong>2) Sean Hannity:</strong> While Beck may suffer from an acute case of <a href="http://ccinsider.comedycentral.com/2010/05/13/lewis-black-glenn-beck-has-nazi-tourettes/" style="color: rgb(42, 93, 176);" target="_blank">Nazi-Tourettes Syndrome</a> (Louis Black™), Sean Hannity is a personal friend of the notorious neo-Nazi schlock-jock, Hal Turner, and graciously hosted him on his program. Turner won’t be be revisiting Hannity for a while because he is presently in prison serving 33 months for threatening judges.<br /><br /><strong>3) Megyn Kelly:</strong> No one can spin a conspiracy theory quite like Beck, but <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=2146" style="color: rgb(42, 93, 176);" target="_blank">Megyn Kelly comes pretty close</a>. For months she’s been peddling a pseudo-scandal alleging that the Department of Justice deliberately dismisses all charges of civil rights violations when the plaintiff is white. This has been <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/201104070046" style="color: rgb(42, 93, 176);" target="_blank">debunked</a> by the House Judiciary Committee’s Office of Professional Responsibility. Kelly also fronted phony investigations into the funders of the Park51 mosque in Manhattan, suggesting (non-existent) terrorist ties. Somehow <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=2499" style="color: rgb(42, 93, 176);" target="_blank">she left out the fact</a> that one of those funders was Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the second largest shareholder of News Corp outside of the Murdoch family. Kelly has a permanent expression of indignation and a vocal delivery that makes every story appear to be shocking. She is the human manifestation of Fox’s ever-present <em>“FOX ALERT!”</em><br /><br /><strong>4) Judge Andrew Napolitano:</strong> There are conspiratorial paths where even Beck fears to tread. Judge Andrew Napolitano has no such fears. He is a frequent guest of proto-conspiratorialist and Beck inspiration, Alex Jones. He is an avowed "9/11 truther" who believes the World Trade Center attack was an inside job. He believes the health care bill contains provisions for a civilian military force to suppress domestic insurrection. He also happens to be Beck’s most frequent fill-in host and a leading candidate to replace him.<br /><br /><strong>5) Bill Sammon:</strong> Fox News’ Washington managing editor, Bill Sammon, has espoused a hard-core conservatism that predates Beck and emanates from the executive suites far above him. He came to Fox from the <em>“Moonie”</em> Washington Times and <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=1209" style="color: rgb(42, 93, 176);" target="_blank">authored several books</a> lionizing George W. Bush and lambasting Democrats. He was also caught authoring memos that directed his reporters to dispense a brazenly partisan point of view. For instance, he told them to refrain from using the term <em>“public option”</em> during the health-care debate because focus-group testing proved the term <em>“government-run”</em> produced a more negative response. Even more disturbing, <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/201103290006" style="color: rgb(42, 93, 176);" target="_blank">he was recorded</a> admitting to a friendly audience on a conservative cruise that he <em>“mischievously”</em> 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. Beck must be so proud to have worked for him.<br /><br /><strong>6) Neil Cavuto:</strong> The glorification of ignorance is a staple of Beck’s brand, but Neil Cavuto has been contributing to the collapse of America’s collective IQ far longer than Beck. He proudly hosts such respected policy analysts as Ted Nugent, Joe the Plumber, and any random Tea Partier to help him unravel our nation’s dilemmas. One of his favorite idiocies is his insistence that <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=1521" style="color: rgb(42, 93, 176);" target="_blank">Climate Change is a hoax</a> because it gets cold in the winter. But Cavuto really shines when he brings in guests whose only connection to the segment is a juvenile pun. In a discussion about whether Tea Party support was grassroots or AstroTurf, Cavuto interviewed the CEO of AstroTurf Technologies, whose expertise with synthetic fiber products contributed nothing to the debate on campaign organization. Cavuto is the prop comic of pundits who delights in interrupting and shouting down Democrats who are naive enough to accept his invitations to appear.<br /><br /><strong>7) Fox &amp; Friends:</strong> While there will always be only one rodeo clown in the vast right-wing conspira-circus, there is no shortage of stooges, and three of them are featured on Fox &amp; Friends. First we have Steve Doocy, who wondered <em>“Why didn’t anybody ever mention that [Obama] spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father.”</em> Perhaps because Obama did not grow up with his father, who left the family when Barack was 2 years old. Then there’s Brian Kilmeade, who fans the racist flames by saying things like <em>“all terrorists are Muslims.”</em> And don’t forget Gretchen Carlson, who called the late Sen. Ted Kennedy a <em>“hostile enemy”</em> of the United States. All of these vile inanities were delivered without any help from Beck. However, it should be noted that when Beck made his infamous remarks about Obama being a racist he did it on Fox &amp; Friends.<br /><br /><strong>8) Fox Nation:</strong> Any good 21st-century propaganda outfit has to have an Internet component, and for Fox News it is Fox Nation. This Web site’s sole purpose is to disseminate the most despicably dishonest disinformation it can invent. There are way too many examples to itemize, but here are a couple that represent the ridiculous and the repulsive. Last July Fox Nation claimed the Taliban was recruiting <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=2140" style="color: rgb(42, 93, 176);" target="_blank">monkey mercenaries</a>. This absurdity was sourced to the People’s Daily in China. Fox Nation also ran an item that <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=1583" style="color: rgb(42, 93, 176);" target="_blank">speculated about Obama’s death</a>. This article brought out the hate in the site’s readers who posted numerous comments indicating how welcome that would be. Many of the stories on Fox Nation percolate up to Fox News for broadcast and they they are no less deranged than the nonsense Beck comes up with.<br /><br /><strong>9) Roger Ailes:</strong> The president and CEO of Fox News sets the tone for the network as a whole. Roger Ailes was a long-time media adviser to Republican candidates prior to launching Fox News. He is the network’s spiritual leader. If you ever wondered how Beck could get away with aligning President Obama (and anyone else with whom he disagrees) with Hitler, your curiosity was satisfied when <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=3236" style="color: rgb(42, 93, 176);" target="_blank">Ailes lashed out at NPR</a> saying that <em>“They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism.”</em> Ailes’ remarks prove that the hate speech at Fox goes from the top down. It’s not now, and never has been, unique to Beck.<br /><br /><strong>10) Rupert Murdoch:</strong> Speaking of the top – Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of News Corp, is as high as you can get. He is the company’s captain and conscience. Every material decision requires his concurrence, including his employment of Glenn Beck. While Beck may be leaving, Murdoch is not (yet). It is, therefore, important to note that when Beck called the president a racist, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsboAwzj7aY&amp;feature=player_embedded" style="color: rgb(42, 93, 176);" target="_blank">Murdoch responded</a> by saying that <em>“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.”</em><br /><br /> Murdoch has consistently stood behind Beck for more than two years, defending him at every turn for every scandalous affair and affront. Even as advertisers fled in disgust, Murdoch never conceded an inch. In the television marketplace it is advertisers, not viewers, who are the broadcaster’s clients. Murdoch snubbed his clients in order to allow Beck’s Acute Paranoia Revue and Disinfotainment Revival Hour to continue poisoning minds and influencing elections.<br /><br /> Murdoch and Ailes together have fashioned a network whose persona is infested with the same conservative extremist ideology popularized by Beck. The examples above illustrate how ingrained that ideology is into the Fox News schedule. Those programs are augmented by an army of propagandists that include Sarah Palin, Stuart Varney, Eric Bolling, Monica Crowley, Dick Morris, Frank Luntz, and many more.<br /><br /> With this dedicated team of activist anchors and contributors, Beck’s departure, though gossip-worthy, will change nothing at Fox News. Beck was not cast off because his message was objectionable, but because he was an ineffective messenger who was alienating his audience. The Fox mission remains intact and any talk of redemption due merely to having thrown off a defective cog is naive and oblivious to the dark reality that is Fox News.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. </div></div></div> Sun, 10 Apr 2011 20:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 665994 at http://ww.alternet.org The Right Wing Media The Right Wing fox murdoch beck carlson ailes kelly How You End Up Bankrolling Fox News: News Corp. and Rupert Murdoch Weasel Out of Paying Taxes http://ww.alternet.org/story/150327/how_you_end_up_bankrolling_fox_news%3A_news_corp._and_rupert_murdoch_weasel_out_of_paying_taxes <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">When giant, prosperous, multinational corporations get out of their tax obligations, ordinary citizens are the ones who are forced to make up the shortfall.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>A few weeks ago video pimp and propagandist, James O’Keefe, released heavily edited and deliberately deceptive video that purported to expose an institutional bias at National Public Radio. It was quickly <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=4050" target="_blank">debunked and denounced</a> as a fraud by analysts across the political spectrum, including those at Glenn Beck’s web site, The Blaze.</p> <p>Nevertheless, partisans in Congress and agenda-driven conservatives in the press continue to behave as if the video were legitimate. The House of Representatives, on a party-line vote, passed a resolution to defund NPR -- a purely symbolic gesture as the Senate is not likely to concur.</p> <p>The latest attack comes from former NPR correspondent, and <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=3036" target="_blank">confessed bigot</a>, Juan Williams, in <a href="http://thehill.com/opinion/columnists/juan-williams/150925-williams-now-i-want-them-to-defund-npr" target="_blank">an op-ed for The Hill</a>. After first conceding that <em>“NPR is an important platform for journalism,”</em> Williams joins his conservative comrades in calling for federal defunding of NPR. But he also reveals his self-serving and vengeful motivation by slandering NPR in saying that…</p> <blockquote> <p>“They’re willing to do anything in service of any liberal with money. This includes firing me and skewing the editorial content of their programming.”</p></blockquote> <p>Nowhere in the article did Williams support his contention that <em>“liberal money”</em> was behind either his termination or any of its reporting. This is nothing more than a personal vendetta on Williams’ part. He is merely using the funding debate to strike his own blows against a former employer for whom he obviously bears a deep resentment.</p> <p>However, if the right wants to introduce the issue of federal funding of the media into the public debate, they should be prepared to see their own Fox gored. Fox News has been the beneficiary of government largess for years and it is time stop it and make Fox pay its own way. As far back as 1999, there have been reports documenting how News Corp, Fox’s parent company, exploited loopholes in tax laws that permitted them to avoid levies that all other citizens have to pay. From <a href="http://www.economist.com/node/319862" target="_blank">The Economist</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>“…News Corporation and its subsidiaries paid only A$325m ($238m) in corporate taxes worldwide. In the same period, its consolidated pre-tax profits were A$5.4 billion. So <strong>News Corporation has paid an effective tax rate of only around 6%.</strong> By comparison, Disney, one of the world’s other media empires, paid 31%. Basic corporate-tax rates in Australia, America and Britain, the three main countries in which News Corporation operates, are 36%, 35% and 30% respectively.”</p></blockquote> <p>The article goes on to describe how News Corp used a complex network of accounting dodges including as many as 60 shell companies that were incorporated in such tax havens as the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Netherlands Antilles and the British Virgin Islands. More recently, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/25/business/media/25murdoch.html?_r=2&amp;hp=&amp;oref=slogin&amp;pagewanted=print" target="_blank">an investigation</a> by the New York Times revealed that…</p> <blockquote> <p>“By taking advantage of a provision in the law that allows expanding companies like Mr. Murdoch’s to defer taxes to future years, <strong>the News Corporation paid no federal taxes in two of the last four years</strong>, and in the other two it paid only a fraction of what it otherwise would have owed. During that time, Securities and Exchange Commission records show, the News Corporation’s domestic pretax profits topped $9.4 billion.”</p></blockquote> <p>When giant, prosperous, multinational corporations weasel out of their tax obligations, ordinary citizens are the ones who are forced to make up the shortfall. That is effectively a tax subsidy for the corporations funded by you and me and all of the indignant Tea Partiers who claim to oppose special interest favors for the elite.</p> <p>What’s more, federal bailouts to corporations like General Motors and Citigroup provided them with billions of taxpayer dollars, some of which are eventually spent on advertising that appears on Fox News, in the Wall Street Journal, and other Murdoch assets. Additionally, financial institutions that receive bailout funds use some that money to acquire shares of News Corp and to finance and insure News Corp activities including billion dollar motion picture projects like Avatar and capitalizing mergers and expansions.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.usuncut.org/">USUncut</a> is mounting a campaign to expose this sort of corporate welfare. They should add News Corp/Fox News to their list. But why aren’t there more voices objecting to these handouts? Why aren’t Democrats in Congress drafting legislation to prohibit bailout and stimulus funds from being used to enrich partisan political operations like Fox News by funneling cash into their accounts disguised as advertising expenditures. Every time you see a commercial on the Fox News Channel for a Chevy Tahoe or a Citibank Visa you are watching your tax dollars flow into the pockets of Rupert Murdoch and his wealthy associates.</p> <p>The right wants to defund NPR despite the fact that they have utterly failed to demonstrate any journalistic bias on the part of NPR. On the other hand, Fox News has been documented to be brazenly one-sided over and over again, yet they receive hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer financed subsidies. The American people should not be forced to bankroll right-wing PR on Fox News.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Mon, 21 Mar 2011 13:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, News Corpse 665678 at http://ww.alternet.org Media News & Politics Media The Right Wing fox npr 7 Things to Do When Right-Wingers Attack http://ww.alternet.org/story/150304/7_things_to_do_when_right-wingers_attack <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">America&#039;s right-wingers have orchestrated an aggressive assault on those they consider to be their enemies. Well, we don&#039;t have to lay down and take it.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Politics is a dirty business. Its history contains some of the most unsavory and slanderous conduct imaginable. In recent years there seems to have been an escalation by conservative activists who were never able to accept the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States. From Inauguration Day, when Fox News immediately began speculating that Obama was illegitimate because Supreme Court Justice John Roberts flubbed the oath of office, to the present where we see the president still shirking off allegations of treasonous sympathies for Muslim terrorists, America's right-wingers have orchestrated an aggressive assault on those they consider to be their enemies. Well, we don't have to lay down and take it. Here are some of the ways we can fight back:<br /><br /><b>1. Trust, No. Verify, Yes:</b> The easiest way to smack down a conservative is to do some cursory research. In all likelihood whatever they are using against you is filled with errors or is entirely made up. It shouldn't be too difficult to expose their attacks as vacant smear tactics. Mike Huckabee's recent assertion that President Obama holds views that are different than the average American due to his "upbringing in Kenya" is a perfect example of right-wing disinformation. It was quickly debunked, which led Huckabee to offer even more ludicrous falsehoods to cover his original deceit. We are fortunate to be blessed with opponents who are, more often than not, idiots. Let's exploit that good fortune.<br /><br /><b>2. Mock Treatment:</b> When you're dealing with the sort of people who vote for former witches for the senate there is sometimes little you can do other than laugh. And while the antics of right-wingers are often indistinguishable from satire, it is still an effective response to their attacks. The latest inanity from Sarah Palin can be addressed at length in a point-by-point rebuttal or a brief skit by Tiny Fey. Which do you think has a more enduring impact?<br /><br /><b>3. Talk Back:</b> The purpose of most attacks from the right is to influence public opinion, and eventually, social behavior and legislation. They must not be left alone on that field of battle. A concerted effort should be made to inform the media that the attacks are baseless. That means letters to the editor, op-eds, call-ins to radio shows, and speaking out at public forums. The PR response is critical. The latest, loudest assertion is often the one most remembered. Don't let it be a Tea Partier.<br /><br /><b>4. Consider the Source:</b> Attacks from the right often emanate from notoriously disreputable characters whose grousing is better ignored. Their hypocrisy is legendary. Why should we care when the corpulent Rush Limbaugh calls Michael Moore fat? And the next time Ann Coulter proposes that the way to deal with violent extremism (or in her view, with anyone of the Muslim faith) is to "invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity," we ought not to pay attention to the violent extremism she espouses. This isn't giving up. It's tactical disregard, but it should only be employed against irrelevant figures whose opinions are widely ignored anyway. I know, that's a pretty big chunk of the rightosphere.<br /><br /><b>5. Hit the Streets:</b> Nothing has been more illustrative of the power ordinary people have to effect change than the determined and courageous example set by the people of Wisconsin. They have been relentless in asserting their rights to speak, assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. Sadly, their governor and his GOP minions have resisted the will of the people -- so far. But this battle is far from over. And the example set by Wisconsin Democrats, unions and citizens, has inspired a national movement in support of working families and the notion that tough economic times require sacrifices from everyone, including wealthy individuals and corporations. This movement has flourished despite scant attention from the conventional media. That's the power of numbers and a public presence.<br /><br /><b>6. Sue the Bastards:</b> This action can only be undertaken by actual victims of right-wing attacks, but it is effective and underutilized. Recently lawsuits have been been filed by Shirley Sherrod (against Andrew Breitbart) and Juan Carlos Vera (against James O'Keefe). These suits can serve as notice that people will not tolerate being slandered or otherwise harmed by spurious attacks. They can also preoccupy conservative evildoers who will have to spend both time and money on their defense. The publicity from these suits can help to advance progressive activism, particularly if they are successful. But just keeping their dastardly exploits in the news has a beneficial effect all its own. It would be great to see more of this from aggrieved parties like Van Jones and George Soros.<br /><br /><b>7. Get Up, Stand Up!</b> Last, but not least, it is imperative that we coalesce into a culture of pride and conviction for the ideals we cherish. We must cease to buckle under pressure from rightist factions who will oppose us even after we make every concession they demand. Has the criticism of the White House declined since the departure of Van Jones? Did the opposition relent after we removed language from the health care bill that was falsely lambasted as "death panels?" Has there been any let-up on charges of over-taxation and socialism from Tea Partiers despite the extension of Bush-era tax relief for the rich? Of course not. So why on earth would we continue to try to appease an opponent who is insatiable and resistant to compromise?</p> <p>Our side has to stop firing people just because they were subjects of criticism from the right. That just empowers the other side and highlights our weaknesses. It's long past time for us to stand up for ourselves and our own. And when we get hit, as we will, we need to hit back. We have a moral obligation to stand up for the principles that we share with the majority of the American people. And now we must augment that with the will to advance those principles even in the face of dishonest, dirty dealing by our opponents.<br /><br /> One more thing: <em>have fun</em>! There is no reason we can't pursue our goals with a positive demeanor that reflects our hopes and aspirations for a country that cares about its people and the people of the world.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Sun, 20 Mar 2011 09:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, AlterNet 665693 at http://ww.alternet.org The Right Wing The Right Wing conservatives right wing breitbart The Shameless Right-Wing Lies That Ousted an NPR CEO http://ww.alternet.org/story/150250/the_shameless_right-wing_lies_that_ousted_an_npr_ceo <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">NPR, and other groups and individuals who&#039;ve reacted to James O&#039;Keefe&#039;s pranks and lies, are helping to empower a dangerous cabal of right-wingers.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>It should come as no surprise that James O’Keefe is an unethical liar who produces deliberately deceptive videos to smear his political opponents. That’s been proven on many occasions. What’s surprising is that is that anyone in the media still pays any attention to him, much less takes actions based on his fictional accounts of staged events. Now even Glenn Beck’s web site, The Blaze, is confirming O'Keefe's disreputability after having analyzed O’Keefe’s latest videos attacking National Public Radio.</p> <p>Scott Baker, Editor-in-Chief of The Blaze, published a fairly in-depth <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theblaze.com/stories/does-raw-video-of-npr-expose-reveal-questionable-editing-tactics/">review of O’Keefe’s scam</a> wherein he compared segments of the edited version to the original unedited source material. What he found he described in his conclusion as <i>“editing tactics that seem designed to intentionally lie or mislead about the material being presented.”</i> Here are some of the overt misrepresentations O’Keefe manufactured:</p> <blockquote> <p><b>1)</b> O’Keefe’s edited video portrayed NPR’s Ron Schiller as happily willing to take a donation from a Muslim Brotherhood front group. The long-form video downplays the connection to the Brotherhood, and discusses its current status as a moderate, non-violent organization.</p> <p><b>2)</b> The edited video portrayed Schiller reacting approvingly in a discussion of Sharia law. The long-form video shows that the response was actually to a different subject entirely. It was just edited in to make it appear as if he was responding the discussion of Sharia law.</p> <p><b>3)</b> The edited video portrayed Schiller as hostile to Republicans and conservatives. The long-form video shows him praising the GOP. Those remarks were completely cut out.</p> <p><b>4)</b> The edited video portrayed Schiller disparaging the Tea Party as racist. The long-form video shows that those remarks were actually the views of others that was describing.</p> <p><b>5)</b> The edited video portrayed Schiller demeaning the intelligence of conservatives. The long-form video shows both him and his NPR colleague defending the intellect of conservatives and even Fox News viewers.</p> <p><b>6)</b> The edited video portrayed Schiller asserting that federal funding for NPR was not necessary or desirable. The long-form video shows him going into detail about the necessity of those funds.</p></blockquote> <p>When Glenn Beck’s web site calls out a conservative for being unethical, there must be something seriously wrong. His lies must have been so egregious that they surpass the threshold for lying ordinarily maintained by people like Beck. Or perhaps Beck is jealous of the competition from O'Keefe for <i>"Best Distortion of Reality."</i></p> <div class="im"><p>The examples above are representative of the grossly deceptive practices that James O’Keefe, a convicted criminal, engages in repeatedly. They are further evidence that nothing he does or says deserves to be taken seriously. Worst of all, they demonstrate the crippling naivete of NPR for reacting so hastily in compelling the resignation of NPR chief Vivian Schiller. After the fact, some folks at NPR are addressing the shameful reaction from their executive ranks. NPR reporter David Folkenflik <a target="_blank" href="http://www.npr.org/2011/03/14/134525412/Segments-Of-NPR-Gotcha-Video-Taken-Out-Of-Context">took on O'Keefe's video directly</a> finding that <i>"many of Ron Schiller's most provocative remarks were presented in a misleading way." </i>Ira Glass, host of <i>"This American Life,"</i> <a target="_blank" href="http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/ira-glass-i-dont-understand-why-npr-is-not-fighting-back-audio.php?ref=fpi">said that</a>...</p> <blockquote> <p>"As somebody who works in public radio, it is killing me that people on the right are going around trying to basically rebrand us, saying that it's biased news, it's left wing news, when I feel like anybody who listens to the shows knows that it's not. And we are not fighting back, we are not saying anything back. I find it completely annoying, and I don't understand it."</p></blockquote> <p>And that's the real question here: Why aren't they fighting back? American media seems far to complacent in the wake of withering assaults by right-wing activists. Rather than defend their virtue (such as it is), they apologize and promise that it will never happen again - even though <i>"it"</i> didn't happen in the first place.  Unfortunately, two careers have already been knee-capped because no one at NPR thought to consider the source.</p> <p>If nothing else, this proves that the media is dominated by conservative forces who consistently control the narrative. Contrary to the spin from the right, NPR is anything but liberal and often it serves only to validate the dishonest mainstream press. They’ve had two correspondents working as paid contributors to Fox News. How many have they had on NBC or Democracy Now? And NPR’s Mara Liasson continues her employment, even after Fox News CEO Roger Ailes <a target="_blank" href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=3236">called them all Nazis</a>.</p> <p>The myth that public broadcasting is liberal has got to be buried once and for all. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is headed by Patricia de Stacy Harrison, a former chair of the Republican Party. And has everyone forgotten the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=321">irrepressibly corrupt Kenneth Tomlinson</a> who was the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and was run out of office just ahead of an indictment? Perhaps the Republicans in congress are right and defunding should be explored more seriously. I simply can’t continue to make excuses for these agencies that are too often used as political pawns without fulfilling their mandate to serve the public.</p> </div> <p>Even if NPR was disposed to unload Schiller, they should have conducted a thorough investigation and then waited a few months so that O’Keefe couldn’t hang another trophy on his wall. They are empowering a dangerous and dishonest cabal of right-wing activists and they seem to be completely oblivious and irresponsible. And to what end? Do they think that firing a couple of patsies will mollify their critics. All they have to do is listen to one of their harshest critics on Capital Hill, Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who said that,</p> <p><i>“Our concern is not about any one person at NPR.”</i></p> <p>These folks are out to destroy those whom they perceive as their progressive opponents and they will settle for nothing less. Yet the victims of this political massacre refuse to defend themselves.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>, the Internet's Chronicle of Media Decay. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally, usually without permission. </div></div></div> Mon, 14 Mar 2011 12:00:01 -0700 Mark Howard, News Corpse 665601 at http://ww.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics Media right-wing conservative npr The Real Reason Glenn Beck Hates Google http://ww.alternet.org/story/149949/the_real_reason_glenn_beck_hates_google <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Beck has a Google conspiracy theory. What he doesn&#039;t tell you is that his boss, Rupert Murdoch, has it in for the search-engine giant.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>It's getting harder and harder to keep up with Glenn Beck's conspiracy delusions. If it isn't health care reform being a backdoor to reparations for slavery, it's Cash-for-Clunkers being a plot to let the government take control of your computer. Or food safety regulations being an excuse to raise prices so that people starve. Or that chemical trails from airplanes are actually missiles from a Chinese submarine off the coast of Santa Monica.<br /><br /> Lately Beck has taken to accusing Google of somehow being in cahoots with the federal government to foment unrest around the world or recruit our youth into socialist conclaves or ... who knows what. He is certain that whatever it is, it is evil. On Monday's program Beck gave this ominous warning to his legion of disciples:</p> <blockquote>"May I recommend, if you're doing your own homework, don't do a Google search. Seems to me that Google is pretty deeply in bed with the government. Maybe this is explaining why Google is being kicked out of all the other countries? Are they just a shill now for the United States government?"</blockquote> <p>Beck continued his assault on Google today, accusing it of being a hard-left enterprise with ties to many of his favorite enemies. These include FreePress.net, the Tides Foundation, MoveOn.org, Van Jones, and (gasp) George Soros.</p> <p> </p> <p>So what got Beck's panties in a bunch over Google? Is he really disturbed by its size and lack of respect for privacy? He never really cared that much about those issues if it were Koch Industries or Microsoft. In fact he ordinarily celebrates large, successful, intrusive business like banks or insurance companies as representative of America's opportunity. Is it his innate distrust of technology and youth culture? He clearly has an</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=3867">animosity toward young people</a></p> <p>and an affinity for an analog past that favors blackboards over digital displays.</p> <p> </p> <p>These things may tell a part of the story, but there is something more fundamental that may explain Beck's Google bashing. His boss, Rupert Murdoch, has had it in for Google for about a year now. Murdoch believes that Google is appropriating his content and failing to compensate him for it, and he has</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/03/rupert-murdoch-google-business-media-murdoch_print.html">taken this battle to extremes</a></p> <p>asking,</p> <p><em>"Should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyrights?"<br /><br /></em></p> <p>Of course, Google is doing no such thing. They are simply aggregating news from many sites across the web. They are providing links to Murdoch's web sites, and others, that actually increase traffic and revenue. And this is something he could stop easily at any time with one line of code that would block Google from including his sites. What's more, Murdoch does the very same sort of news aggregation on many of his own sites like Fox Nation. But the issue is that Murdoch wants to force Google to pay him for the extra business they send his way and Google had the audacity to decline.</p> <p> </p> <p>Another wrinkle involves Murdoch's brand new iPad-only application, The Daily. Murdoch has high hopes for this fee-based news product. He has said that it is the future of news and that it will be the cornerstone of his news empire going forward. He launched it in conjunction with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who will also share in the earnings. Apple also announced that it is offering a new service that will provide access to other news and magazine publications on a subscription basis. That service will be competing with a similar service recently announced by Google.</p> <p> </p> <p>Google is also competing with Apple on cell phones and cell phone operating systems, Internet browsers, advertising, and even computer tablets. So Murdoch's partner and publisher, Apple, will be going up against Google in numerous businesses, including his cherished iPad app, The Daily.</p> <p> </p> <p>Glenn Beck is a notorious profit whore. He exploits every type of media available. And he sells, not just advertising, but his own endorsement, to gold dealers, survivalist gear, and right-wing lobbyists. Should we be suspicious that Beck is now attacking Google when his employer is in fierce competition with them? Well, only if we are already suspicious of Beck for being otherwise obsessively driven by a profit motive, so you tell me. Do your own homework.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>, the Internet's Chronicle of Media Decay. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally, usually without permission. </div></div></div> Fri, 18 Feb 2011 21:00:01 -0800 Mark Howard, News Corpse 665344 at http://ww.alternet.org Media News & Politics Media The Right Wing google fox news glenn beck rupert murdoch murdoch New Study: Tea Partiers Three Times More Likely to Say Violence Is Warranted. Exhibit A: Glenn Beck http://ww.alternet.org/story/149572/new_study%3A_tea_partiers_three_times_more_likely_to_say_violence_is_warranted._exhibit_a%3A_glenn_beck <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">When a survivor of the Tucson shooting told a Tea Party leader, &quot;You&#039;re dead,&quot; he was arrested and committed. Why is Glenn Beck any different?</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p><small><em>Illustration for this story by <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=3647">News Corpse</a></em></small></p> <p>I have documented <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=3624" target="_blank">numerous examples</a> of right-wing advocacy of violence, as have many others. But nobody crosses further over the line, or more often, than Glenn Beck. And here is <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,594343,00.html" target="_blank">the ultimate display of deliberate hostile intent</a>. It is an overt call for violence and an instruction to viewers:</p> <blockquote> <p>“Tea parties believe in small government. We believe in returning to the principles of our Founding Fathers. We respect them. We revere them. <strong>Shoot me in the head before I stop talking about the Founders. Shoot me in the head if you try to change our government.</strong></p> <p>I will stand against you and so will millions of others. We believe in something. You in the media and most in Washington don’t. The radicals that you and Washington have co-opted and brought in wearing sheep’s clothing — change the pose. You will get the ends.</p> <p>You’ve been using them? They believe in communism. They believe and have called for a revolution. <span style="color: red;"><strong>You’re going to have to shoot them in the head.</strong></span> But warning, they may shoot you.</p> <p>They are dangerous because they believe. Karl Marx is their George Washington. You will never change their mind.” ~ <em>Fox News, June 10, 2010</em></p></blockquote> <p>This cannot possibly be justified as acceptable political discourse. This is not merely an expression of opinion. It is not metaphorical. It is a call to arms. And Beck’s audience is listening. They have heard him say that <em>“The country will be washed with blood.”</em> They have heard him warn that he may have to speak in code:</p> <blockquote> <p>“I fear that there will come a time when I cannot say things that I am currently saying. I fear that it will come to television and to radio, and I will stop saying these things. Understand me clearly. Hear me now. If I ever stop saying these things, you will know why. Because I will have made a choice that I can only say certain things, and I haven’t lost all of the rights. But know that these things are true. And if you hear me stop saying these things, it’s because I can no longer say them to you. But <strong>hear them between the sentences. Hear them, please. I will be screaming them to you.</strong>“</p></blockquote> <p>One of those to whom Beck was screaming was Byron Williams who was apprehended following a police shootout as he was on his way to San Francisco to kill people at the ACLU and the Tides Foundation. <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/201010110002" target="_blank">In a prison interview</a> he said…</p> <blockquote> <p>“Beck is gonna deny everything about violent approach and deny everything about conspiracies, but he’ll give you every reason to believe it. He’s protecting himself, and you can’t blame him for that. So, I understand what he’s doing.”</p></blockquote> <p>That’s right, Byron understands what Beck is doing, and so do I. A <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2011/1/17/936935/-13-percent-of-Tea-Partiers-are-dangerous-extremists" target="_blank">new poll</a> by Public Policy Polling reports that 13 percent of Tea Partiers say the that violence against the current American government is justifiable. While that may sound like a small percentage, there are two things to keep in mind: <strong>1)</strong> It’s more than three times the percentage of non-Tea Partiers who say violence is justifiable. And <strong>2)</strong> It only takes one lone nut to wreak havoc. One lone nut like Byron Williams or, perhaps, Jared Loughner, as we learned in Tucson a week ago.</p> <p>Let me be crystal clear. I am not associating Loughner to Glenn Beck. There has been no evidence (yet) to link the two. However, there have been other lone gunmen in addition to Williams who were indisputably <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/201101130002" target="_blank">linked to Beck</a>.</p> <p>It is because of statements like the one above that Beck has forfeited his privilege of hosting national broadcasts. His language is brazenly irresponsible and he knows it. He cannot escape accountability for the tragic consequences it produces. And neither can Roger Ailes or Rupert Murdoch.</p> <p>In addition to his hostile streak, Beck also has demonstrated a flagrant prejudice against blacks and Jews. I <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=1414" target="_blank">previously noted</a> that a rather large proportion of Beck’s targets are black, beginning, of course, with Barack Obama. Media Matters recently made note of Beck’s program on <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/201101140003" target="_blank">“The Big Lie”</a> wherein Beck cited nine individuals whom he implicated in a tyrannical plot to control the minds of Americans in order to advance a socialist agenda. Was it just a coincidence that eight of them were Jewish?</p> <p>This racist, anti-Semitic, provocateur must not be be permitted to conduct his terror campaign on America’s airwaves. Now that does not mean that he should be subjected to censorship or suppression of his First Amendment rights, but the First Amendment does not guarantee everyone a television show. Radio and television networks, and the advertisers and audience that support them, must be persuaded to act responsibly. And that is our job.</p> <p>You can go to <a href="http://www.glennbeckunhinged.com/" target="_blank">Glenn Beck Unhinged</a> and click on <em><strong>“Take Action”</strong></em> for a list of organizations that are working to hold the media accountable. Then pass the links around to spread the word.</p> <p>The quote above is not an isolated incident. The results of such rhetoric are predictable. His disciples believe that he is giving them covert directions, and he encourages that belief. So we have to redouble our efforts to make people like Glenn Beck pay for the harm they do to our nation. And we have to do it before there is further violence or loss of life.</p> <p>Eric Fuller, a victim of the Tucson shooting, was arrested and involuntarily committed to a mental facility for psychiatric examination. This occurred after he attended a town hall meeting and said <em>“You’re dead,”</em> to a Tea Party leader while snapping his picture. That’s it. Just words. He had no weapon and made no threatening gestures or movements toward anyone. If that warrants arrest and commitment then why isn’t Beck undergoing a similar examination after explicitly advising his viewers to shoot their political adversaries in the head?</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>, the Internet's Chronicle of Media Decay. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally, usually without permission. </div></div></div> Tue, 18 Jan 2011 21:00:01 -0800 Mark Howard, News Corpse 664958 at http://ww.alternet.org The Right Wing News & Politics Civil Liberties The Right Wing violence glenn beck right wing tea party david brock loughner Fox News Escalates 'War On Christmas' http://ww.alternet.org/story/149293/fox_news_escalates_%27war_on_christmas%27 <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Rupert Murdoch sent a memo to all employees wishing them a happy &#039;holiday.&#039; Why does he hate Jesus?</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>For the past several years at this time, Fox News has made certain that Christmas is the time of year for all good Americans to shun everyone who isn’t Christian. From Sarah Palin to Glenn Beck to Neil Cavuto, the call to reject such inclusive greetings as “Happy Holidays” is heard throughout the Fox News village. Bill O’Reilly, as usual, is at the forefront of the battle. And you know he understands the meaning of Christmas because he articulates it so well:</p> <blockquote> <p>“Every company in America should be on its knees thanking Jesus for being born. Without Christmas, most American businesses would be far less profitable.”</p></blockquote> <p>Heartwarming, isn’t it? O’Reilly’s gratitude for the birth of his savior isn’t due to the gift of eternal life. It’s for the prospect of higher profits. His Jesus would have invited the moneychangers into the temple.</p> <p>I’m sure that O’Reilly’s wrath will be suitably deployed when he hears that Fox News has joined the pagan hordes who insult Jesus by taking Christ out of Christmas. During today’s broadcast of Fox &amp; Friends they brazenly wished their viewers a happy holiday. And once again, Rupert Murdoch <a href="http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/rupert-murdochs-holiday-greetings-2010-edition_b44589#more-44589">sent a memo</a> to all employees wishing them a happy “holiday.” (Why does he hate Jesus?)</p> <p><a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/Caps/fox-friends-xmas.jpg"><img width="500" height="290" alt="" src="http://www.newscorpse.com/Caps/fox-friends-xmas.jpg" class="alignnone" /></a></p> <p>It was just last week that Fox &amp; Friends hostess Gretchen Carlson berated the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma for changing the name of its Christmas parade to the Holiday Parade of Lights. And Fox &amp; Friends recently <a target="_blank" href="http://video.foxnews.com/v/4453393/grinchalertcom-tracks-pro-christmas-businesses/">featured a story</a> about <a target="_blank" href="http://www.grinchalert.com/">Grinch Alert</a>, a Web site from the First Baptist Church of Dallas that tracks businesses that say “Holiday” instead of "Christmas.” You can go to the Grinch Alert site now and enter Fox News as “Naughty” for perpetuating the evil of a “holiday” celebration.</p> <p>For the record, Fox doesn’t get credit for initiating the war on Christmas. In 1921 Henry Ford published a virulently anti-Semitic tract titled “The International Jew”:</p> <blockquote> <p>“The whole record of the Jewish opposition to Christmas, Easter and other Christian festivals, and their opposition to certain patriotic songs, shows the venom and directness of [their] attack…And it has become pretty general. Last Christmas most people had a hard time finding Christmas cards that indicated in any way that Christmas commemorated Someone’s Birth.”</p></blockquote> <p>Sound familiar? And the right-wingers on Fox and elsewhere owe a debt to the John Birch Society for waging this seasonal war and injecting the scent of red-baiting into it for good measure. Its 1959 pamphlet titled “There Goes Christmas?!” warned:</p> <blockquote> <p>“One of the techniques now being applied by the Reds to weaken the pillar of religion in our country is the drive to take Christ out of Christmas – to denude the event of its religious meaning.”</p></blockquote> <p>And if that doesn’t bring home the warmth of the season, I don’t know what to say. Except Happy Holidays.</p> <p>------</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Fri, 24 Dec 2010 21:00:01 -0800 Mark Howard, News Corpse 664683 at http://ww.alternet.org Media News & Politics Media Belief The Right Wing fox news war on christmas rupert murdoch christmas fox & friends CNN Tries to Outfox Fox With Tea Party Deal http://ww.alternet.org/story/149278/cnn_tries_to_outfox_fox_with_tea_party_deal <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">CNN, the once dominant and comparatively respectable cable news network, seems determined to destroy whatever shreds are left of its credibility.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>CNN, the once dominant and comparatively respectable cable news network, seems determined to destroy whatever shreds are left of its credibility. It announced this morning that it will be <a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/17/cnn-and-tea-party-express-to-host-first-of-its-kind-tea-party-presidential-primary-debate/" target="_blank">partnering with the Tea Party Express</a> for a Republican primary debate in September of 2011.</p> <p>Generally when a media organization chooses to co-host a primary campaign event it goes with the party apparatus or a non-partisan group like the League of Women Voters. Tea Party Express is hardly non-partisan. TPE is a political action committee that has actively engaged in campaigning on behalf of specific candidates. It supported Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Joe Miller in Alaska (all lost). It has also been a vocal proponent of Sarah Palin, who is a speculative candidate for president herself and thus a possible participant in the debate. It has taken positions for or against GOP candidates based on their adherence to Tea Party dogma and helped to defeat GOP incumbents. How can TPE be impartial in a Republican primary debate?</p> <p>CNN’s statement announcing this partnership quoted Sam Feist, CNN political director and vice president of Washington-based programming, saying that…</p> <blockquote> <p>“The Tea Party movement is a fascinating, diverse, grassroots force that already has drastically changed the country’s political landscape.”</p> <p>“Undecided voters turn to CNN to educate themselves during election cycles, so it is a natural fit for CNN to provide a platform for the diverse perspectives within the Republican Party, including those of the Tea Party.”</p></blockquote> <p>That statement ought to outrage members of the Tea Party who insist they are not affiliated with any other party. It is a statement that reduces their views to being merely “perspectives within the Republican Party.” While TPE may not object to that characterization, I suspect that many other Tea Partiers would.</p> <p>What’s more, the predominantly white organization cannot seriously be portrayed as diverse or as a “grassroots force.”It was created by Sal Russo and his Republican PR firm, Russo Marsh, and its brief history is fraught with scandal. Rival Tea Party groups were harshly critical of it for directing nearly half of the money it raised from citizen supporters to Russo’s firm. TPE's former spokesman, Mark Williams, was forced to resign after publishing a racially offensive article on his Web site. That was a particularly embarrassing episode as the Tea Party was battling persistent allegations of racism at the time.</p> <p>On the day following CNN’s announcement Williams <a href="http://www.prlog.org/11161040-linclon-letter-author-williams-hails-cnn-tea-party-express-deal-says-glenn-beck-owes-apology.html" target="_blank">issued a press release</a> praising CNN for its decision to embrace Tea Party Express. In the release he declared himself to have been vindicated and noted that the CNN relationship was evidence that charges of racism against the Tea Party were unfounded.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Williams:</strong> “That a respected international, serious news organization like CNN and even the potential presidential candidates recognize that the Tea Party is anything but racist simply thrills me.” [...] I feel completely vindicated, this is an absolute vindication of both the Tea Party and Mark Williams.”</p></blockquote> <p>This is precisely what makes CNN’s move so reprehensible. TPE is using this connection to whitewash its dubious reputation. CNN has to know that it is permitting itself to be used for the political benefit of an organization that doesn’t even have the respect of its Tea Party comrades. When Williams resigned last summer, TPE was booted from the National Tea Party Federation and has never been reinstated. So how is it representative of the so-called movement?</p> <p>The Tea Party’s influence has long been overstated in the media. Poll after poll shows that it is an insignificant segment of the population and that its views are <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=3291" target="_blank">wildly out of touch</a> with the American mainstream and even the Republican Party. But if CNN were still determined to partner with a Tea Party group it should at least endeavor to find one without the repugnant baggage of TPE (an admittedly difficult task).</p> <p>It is also notable that Tea Party Express has become a <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/200908280029" target="_blank">fixture on Fox News</a>. Fox provided wall-to-wall coverage of the TPE bus tour with reporter Griff Jenkins riding along. Perhaps Fox would have been an even more natural fit for partnering with TPE than CNN. After all, TPE was created by a Republican PR firm and Fox is the communications arm of the Republican Party. If nothing else this underscores the transparent dishonesty of portraying the Tea Party as anything other than an affiliate of the Republican Party. How else can it justify playing an official role in the GOP primary debate?</p> <p>But far worse is the damage this does to CNN, an already wounded critter. This is an unprecedented partnership between a news organization and an active political action committee that has already taken sides in the debate. Would CNN ever consider partnering with MoveOn.org for a Democratic debate? I think not. And prior to this news, I would have hoped not. Now I would suggest that MoveOn give CNN a call just to see how fair and balanced it is.</p> <p>What might have have prompted CNN to make this unholy alliance with a discredited and over-hyped entity? Undoubtedly <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=2792" target="_blank">CNN’s new president Ken Jautz</a> had something to do with it. Jautz, who took the reins at CNN in September, was previously in charge of its sister network HLN. It was there he made history by giving Glenn Beck his first job in television. In hiring Beck he praised the radio shock-jock as being “cordial,” and “non-confrontational.” That should have been a warning sign that Jautz might not be a suitable choice to run a news network. Jautz has always been more interested in ratings than journalism, and the Tea Party deal imparts a disturbing vision of the direction he intends to take CNN.</p> <p>Earlier this year ABC News tried to hire <a href="http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/02/abc-news-disinvites-breitbart-from-coverage/?pagemode=print" target="_blank">smear artist Andrew Breitbart</a> as an election analyst. The public outcry (and Breitbart’s own prickly personality) resulted in Breitbart getting thrown to the curb. That should serve as an example that we can have a positive influence on these sort of decisions. Everyone who who cares about ethical media and fair elections should let CNN know this is inappropriate and unprofessional. You can <a href="http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form1.html?39" target="_blank">use this form on CNN’s Web site</a> to tell it that it should not be partnering with Tea Party Express or any right-wing wing PAC (or left-wing for that matter). You can also Tweet CNN at <a href="http://twitter.com/cnn" target="_blank">http://twitter.com/cnn</a>. Use the hashtag #NoCNNTP.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>. His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally. </div></div></div> Tue, 21 Dec 2010 21:00:01 -0800 Mark Howard, News Corpse 664651 at http://ww.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics Media The Right Wing cnn presidential debate tea party express Tea Party Inc. Study Confirms That Fox News Makes You Stupid http://ww.alternet.org/story/149193/study_confirms_that_fox_news_makes_you_stupid <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">A new survey of American voters shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Yet another study has been released proving that watching Fox News is detrimental to your intelligence. World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, <a href="http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brunitedstatescanadara/671.php?nid=&amp;id=&amp;pnt=671&amp;lb=" target="_blank">conducted a survey</a> of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.</p><p>So the more you watch, the less you know. Or to be precise, the more you think you know that is actually false. This study corroborates a <a href="http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/international_security_bt/102.php?nid=&amp;id=&amp;pnt=102&amp;lb=brusc" target="_blank">previous PIPA study</a> that focused on the Iraq war with similar results. And there was an <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=1370" target="_blank">NBC/<em>Wall Street Journal</em> poll</a> that demonstrated the break with reality on the part of Fox viewers with regard to health care. The body of evidence that Fox News is nothing but a propaganda machine dedicated to lies is growing by the day.</p><p>In eight of the nine questions below, Fox News placed first in the percentage of those who were misinformed (they placed second in the question on TARP). That’s a pretty high batting average for journalistic fraud. Here is a list of what Fox News viewers believe that just aint so:</p><ul><li>91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs</li><li>72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit</li><li>72 percent believe the economy is getting worse</li><li>60 percent believe climate change is not occurring</li><li>49 percent believe income taxes have gone up</li><li>63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts</li><li>56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout</li><li>38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP</li><li>63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)</li></ul><p>The conclusion is inescapable. Fox News is deliberately misinforming its viewers and it is doing so for a reason. Every issue above is one in which the Republican Party had a vested interest. The GOP benefited from the ignorance that Fox News helped to proliferate. The results were apparent in the election last month as voters based their decisions on demonstrably false information fed to them by Fox News.</p><p>By the way, the rest of the media was not blameless. CNN and the broadcast network news operations fared only slightly better in many cases. Even MSNBC, which had the best record of accurately informing viewers, has a ways to go before it can brag about it.</p><p>The conclusions in this study need to be disseminated as broadly as possible. Fox’s competitors need to report these results and produce ad campaigns featuring them. Newspapers and magazines need to publish the study across the country. This is big news and it is critical that the nation be advised that a major news enterprise is poisoning their minds.</p><p>This is not an isolated review of Fox’s performance. It has been corroborated time and time again. The fact that Fox News is so blatantly dishonest, and the effects of that dishonesty have become ingrained in an electorate that has been purposefully deceived, needs to be made known to every American. Our democracy cannot function if voters are making choices based on lies. We have the evidence that Fox is tilting the scales and we must now make certain its corporate owners do not get away with it.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com">News Corpse</a>.</p> </div></div></div> Tue, 14 Dec 2010 21:00:00 -0800 Mark Howard, News Corpse 664546 at http://ww.alternet.org Media Media The Right Wing fox news misinformation fox viewers