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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

 
Circling The Wagons

by digby

It's all very heartwarming to see all the little media Villagers gather around their wealthy potential future employer, Fox News, and defend it from the big bad White House, but seriously, is there any real doubt that Fox News (not the gasbags ---but Fox News itself) is biased? (As Boehlert asks here --- has Ruth Marcus ever watched Fox News?) There are so many examples that it seems ridiculous to have to make the case, but evidently the villagers are so brainwashed they can't even see what's before their very eyes.

Yesterday, a "concerned parent" appeared on Fox News to complain about Anita Dunn. As Aravosis pointed out, the silhouette looked suspiciously like Chris Wallace (and, it must be admitted, any member of DEVO) and Richard Wolfe continued the speculation (about Wallace, not DEVO) on Countdown last night:

Wolffe: Look at how this video has just popped up about Anita Dunn and her graduation ceremony of her own son. You know, this video, which was not available for public record, happened to pop up on the Glenn Beck show. And it's the same school where Chris Wallace spoke the year before because his kids also went there.

Was that coincidence, or is Fox determined to take this to another level? That's not about news, it's about personal attacks. Look, they may enjoy it for all sorts of commercial reasons. But it goes way beyond the commercial aspect here. There is an unholy jihad going on.

I don't know what he knows or whether there's any truth at all to this rumor. but I do know that anyone who thinks Chris Wallace is some kind of objective journalist (not to mention decent human being) is out of his mind. Remember this?

"Fox News Sunday" anchorman Chris Wallace says father Mike Wallace has "lost it" - after the legendary CBS newsman told the Boston Globe last week that the fact George Bush had been elected president shows America is "[expletive]-up."

"He's lost it. The man has lost it. What can I say," the younger Wallace lamented to WRKO Boston radio host Howie Carr on Friday.

"He's 87-years old and things have set in," the Fox anchor continued. "I mean, we're going to have a competence hearing pretty soon."

Wallace Jr. quickly dispelled any notion that he was joking. When Carr suggested that his comments were likely to be covered by NewsMax, he responded: "You know what? Fine. Go ahead. Call them. That's fine. I'll stand by that."

Returning to the topic of his father's competence, Wallace Jr. explained: "He's checked out. I don't understand it," beyond the fact that Wallace Sr. has "problems with the war."

"I don't know why he said what he said," he added.

[...]

Asked about DNC chair Howard Dean's recent prediction that the U.S. would lose the war in Iraq, Wallace told Carr:

"We are in a war. We do have 150,000-plus American soldiers over there. I mean, it's Tokyo Rose, for God sakes, going on radio saying we can't win the war."

One only hopes that this "concerned parent" isn't a much of an ass to his kids as he is to his father --- without whom he'd be lucky to be a week-end weatherman in Butte Montana.

But Wallace isn't the only wingnut jackass pretending to be a "straight" newsman. Remember this?

Plenty of news media analysts thought Senator John Kerry looked good at Thursday night's presidential debate, but Fox News went a step further, posting a made-up news article on its Web site that quoted Mr. Kerry as gloating about his fine manicure and his "metrosexual" appearance.

Fox News quickly retracted the article, saying in an editor's note on its Web site that the article "was written in jest and should not have been posted or broadcast.'' It said, "We regret the error, which occurred because of fatigue and bad judgment, not malice."

The article, posted on Friday on foxnews.com, was written by Carl Cameron, the chief political correspondent for Fox News, and included several bogus quotes from Mr. Kerry, supposedly assessing his performance in the debate.

"Didn't my nails and cuticles look great? What a good debate!" the article quoted Mr. Kerry, the Democratic candidate, as telling his supporters in Florida after the event.



Right, there was no malice. The fact that it happened to validate the Republicans' entire campaign narrative about Kerry being an effete, gay "flip-flopper" was entirely coincidence.

How about the "professional" newsman, Brit Hume, talking about the notorious Karl Rove statement that Democrats wanted to offer bin Laden therapy:

HUME (6/23/05): Now, it's probably worth noting at the outset here that Rove directed his criticism and his comparison at Democrats as—I mean, at liberals as opposed to conservatives. He never did say “Democrats. Democrats seem to have rushed to make themselves the targets of this attack by Rove and to claim outrage. What's going on?

See there? Karl hadn’t talked about Dems at all! Why were the Dems in such a tizzy? But uh-oh! Next, Kondracke started parsing. And Brit quickly self-contradicted:

KONDRACKE: Look, Karl Rove went over the top, even on the basis of what he said. He should have said “some” liberals. He was referring to Moveon.org, which passed a petition around and is a far-left organization, passed a petition—

HUME: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Moveon.org lies at the heart of the Democratic Party nowadays, doesn't it, Mort?


Uh-oh! First, Karl wasn’t discussing Dems at all. Moments later, just like that, he’d been discussing “the heart of the party!”


Media Matters and Brave New Films could go on forever with this. It isn't news, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. But just as it took nearly 25 years for the villagers to grok that even though he was invited to dinner parties by important people, Rush Limbaugh is actually a malignant blight on humanity, those who don't watch Fox News (and therefore agree with it) simply assume they must be ok because they hire lots of credentialed journalists and are invited to all the important social events. It would be downright unseemly if it turns out that right wing fascists are walking among them.

And among the more aware members of the group, there is the thug factor. There's not a lot to be gained by taking on Fox and a whole lot to lose. Old Rog has shown that even making fun of the fatuous gasbags on the network can open a whole can of worms that's not necessarily worth opening. Going after their legitimacy as a news organization could lead to ... well, use your imagination.

I'm actually fairly astonished that the Obama administration has decided to do this. The village CW is that they think they can "peel off" all those independents who watch FOX, which is completely absurd. If you watch Fox, you are undoubtedly a conservative and most likely a Republican. None of that audience is gettable. And they know it.

So they must have another reason. The cynic in me says it's a bone to the left, a way to appear to be fighting the good fight while giving away far too much to the ruling class in legislation and regulation. And the truth is that taking on Fox is the good fight, at least in terms of changing the playing field, which I do think is important. So, I don't denigrate the effort, no matter what the motivation.

The less cynical part of me hopes that Obama and Co. are just sick of being called Hitler and worry about how that affects the social fabric of our nation. After all, this stuff is not benign, no matter what the cozy beltway club believes. Here's where this leads:


The unprecedented number of death threats against President Obama, a rise in racist hate groups, and a new wave of antigovernment fervor threaten to overwhelm the US Secret Service, according to government officials and reports, raising new questions about the 144-year-old agency’s overall mission.

The Secret Service is tracking a far broader range of possible threats to the nation’s leaders, the officials said, even as it also investigates financial crimes such as counterfeiting as part of its original mandate.

[...]

The domestic threat is also growing, fueled in part by Obama’s election as the nation’s first black president, according to specialists who study homegrown radical movements.

Obama, who was given Secret Service protection 18 months before the election - the earliest ever for a presidential candidate - has been the target of more threats since his inauguration than his predecessors.

Two days before Obama’s appearance at San Francisco fund-raisers on Thursday, a 59-year-old Northern California man was indicted on charges of sending a racist, profanity-filled e-mail threatening to kill Obama and his family. The rambling e-mail included specific references to Michelle Obama and the phrase, “do it to his children and family first in front of him,’’ according to the indictment.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says that antigovernment militias and white supremacist groups have strengthened in recent years, responding to an increasingly diverse population and what they see as an expanding government...

“A key difference this time is that the federal government - the entity that almost the entire radical right views as its primary enemy - is headed by a black man,’’ the report said. “One result has been a remarkable rash of domestic terror incidents since the presidential campaign, most of them related to anger over the election of Barack Obama.’’

Threatening language has also found its way into talk radio broadcasts and social networking websites, raising fears that individuals not normally considered threats to the president could be incited to violence.

For example, the Secret Service in recent months has investigated a poll posted on Facebook about whether Obama should be killed. It has interviewed a Florida radio talk show host after a caller mentioned ammunition, target practice, and the president, and federal officials have raised concerns about several instances in which protesters carrying weapons showed up at Obama events, including a man at an August town hall in New Hampshire.

“The racist extremist fringe is exploiting themes that strike a chord in the mainstream more than we have seen in the recent past,’’ said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino, citing several elected leaders who have questioned whether Obama is a US citizen eligible to be president.


Maybe Barack Obama simply feels he has to literally protect himself against Fox News' toxic spew. I certainly couldn't blame him.


Update: More evidence of skewed news, here ... and here:


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