Right Wing and Inept Media

Will The Attorney General’s Investigation Into Leaks Snare Trump And Fox News?

Here is a tweet from Fox News this morning at 5:30 a.m.:

By the way, that’s some serious shit, but let’s set aside the content and just note that Fox & Friends linked to a Fox News site talking about information that came from “sources”.

And Donald Trump retweeted it:

There’s one problem. The information from Fox News was actually confidential information from intel sources, i.e., the kind of leak that Trump and Sessions said they would go after.

Look at the awkwardness a few hours later when Fox & Friends interview UN Representative Nikki Haley about the North Korea issue, and she tells them it is confidential.

Ah yes…. and now a flashback:

The New O’Keefe Video

So, the White House spokesman wants people to watch a video even though she doesn’t know if it is accurate.  How’s that for devotion to the truth?

The video is by James O’Keefe, and it is itself about the truth.  But O’Keefe and his outfit, Project Veritas, have been known to use slick editing procedures to distort the truth, rather than expose it.  Let’s see what O’Keefe has this time.

Interesting. What O’Keefe, who has been hit with a $1 million conspiracy lawsuit, doesn’t tell you is that Bonifield has held many positions at CNN, most recently serving as a supervising producer for CNN Health, a position he has held since 2015.

CNN Health.

Other than that, there’s not much there there.

Does CNN’s coverage drive its ratings? I’m sure it does.  Just like as Fox.

Is the Trump-Russia collusion things bullshit?  This CNN supervisor says it could be.  And you know what? IT COULD BE.

But isn’t that why we have an investigation?  Isn’t that the point?

The opinion of a CNN Health producer means nothing.  You know who doesn’t think the Russia investigation is “a hoax”? The CIA, the FBI, the NSA, the DNI, the House Intel Committee, the Senate Intel Committee, and Robert Mueller.

The End Of Fox News As We Know It?

Let’s start with this tweet….

Sean is referring to this….

What’s going on?  Well, today it looks like it may be over for Bill Shine, a top Ailes era executive who in the view of many was tainted by the Ailes regime but was nevertheless promoted after his fall. Revealingly, Sean Hannity is trying to launch a public ‘Justice for Shine’ movement to help Shine keep his job. The Hollywood Reporter reports that the Murdochs are looking to replace Shine and hope to replace him with a woman.

It’s the smart move.  Really, the only move. It’s how you start changing a toxic organizational culture.

But will it change “FNC as we know it”? Can you have Fox News without the misogyny?

That’s a tough call, but you have to understand the possibility that the misogyny of Fox is tied to its product: a worldview of resentment and provocation, contempt for changing cultural mores about sex, gender, race and a slew of other things. A company or a brand is a function of a relationship between an audience and a product. You cannot easily change the product with changing the audience.

At best, you’ll be diluting the white male voices that predominate Fox.  And that alone will hurt the brand.  With Shine out, and Murduch passing the torch (slowly) to his (reportedly more liberal) sons, the only thing left of the hardcore right may be on the Internet.

Imagine that.

RELATED: Trouble brewing over at the conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation, too — reports Politico

RELATED #2: Mediate has a scoop

On the heels of major shakeups at the Fox News Network, an alternative conservative network is being actively discussed amongst conservative fat cats.

A well-placed source close to the proposal tells Mediaite that serious discussions are underway to create an alternative conservative cable network on the belief that the Fox News Network is moving too far to the left. The source, who is engaged in the talks, says a meeting is planned for today with two prominent high-powered television executives, some underperforming conservative networks and people who have an interest and the ability to fund a new network.

The potential aim? Putting “the old band” back together. There are certainly plenty of (out-of-work?) conservative powerhouses to pick from that could star on a new network, and perhaps even some executives from within Fox News who might be lured by the new opportunity. Could the new channel include stars like the ousted Bill O’Reilly, who didn’t waste much time hitting the podcast waves after he was fired amid a sexual harassment scandal? Could Tomi Lahren, the conservative mega star, who was recently sidelined at The Blaze also take on a prominent role? The exact “who” won’t be clear until the deal is more defined but the source says the pitch is that the network could immediately reach at least 85 million homes.

You can’t reheat a souffle.  Also, I see boycott of advertisers bigly.

The Hole Left By Bill O’Reilly Is Filled By Another Skeevy Guy

So with Bill O’Reilly out at Fox News, they’ve done some moving around of people, but they still need to promote talent to fill O’Reilly’s absence.  That guy is Jesse Watters, an O’Reilly protege of sorts (appearing on O’Reilly regularly). He’s not a pundit — more like Fox’s answer to a political humorist. Except he’s not funny.  Kind of a jerk.  Think of Rupert Pupkin.

Watters premiered this week with “The Five”, Fox’s panel discussion show, which moved to O’Reilly’s slot.  And, well…..the trouble for Watters started on Tuesday, when he said that he liked the way that Ivanka Trump was “speaking into that microphone” during a panel discussion on The Five, as he smiled and made a gesture with his hands that seemed to imply he was talking about oral sex.

Notice how he said it just seconds after he decryed “liberals” for apparently claiming that they respect women, but booing Ivanka Trump in Germany.

Getting hit with the backlash today, Watters tried to defend his remarks:

People aren’t buying it:

And of course, even if you accept his perspective, he’s still reducing her to superficial features (it’s her voice, not what she’s saying).

And you wonder why Fox has a sexual harassment problem.

The Culture At Fox News

Apparently, someone unearthed an accusation of sexual harassment against Sean Hannity, and the accuser is a right wing pundit Debbie Schlussel, who apparently stands by the story but says it doesn’t rise to the level of sexual harassment, but she may sue Hannity anyway because he insulted her in his denial and….

Well, I’m just going to put this here.  Apparently, there are more heads that need to roll at Fox News.  Maybe not Hannity’s, but certainly whoever is running that place.  Someone higher up.  Time for a better corporate culture.

UPDATE:  Okay fine — here’s the Daily Beast summary:

During a Friday interview with Tulsa, Oklahoma-based radio host Pat Campbell, former Fox News guest Debbie Schlussel accused Hannity of inviting her to his hotel room before and after a debate with a pro-Palestinian guest in Detroit. Schlussel said she rejected Hannity’s alleged advances and that she was never invited on his show again.

Schlussel and Hannity were scheduled to speak together at the Detroit show, Schlussel said. But before the show, Hannity allegedly invited her to an event at a nearby bookstore. The Daily Beast was not able to confirm whether the pair ever spoke at such a show.

“He had some event at a bookstore where he signed his book for people standing in line. He asked me to come meet him at this book signing,” Schlussel said on Campbell’s show. “So I met him there and it was very awkward. He had me up there with him while he signed books and I felt very weird. These people don’t know me and they didn’t come for me to sign their books. Then I left to get ready for the show, and he said, ‘Why don’t you come back with me to my hotel?’ and I said no, I have to get ready for the show.”

Shortly before the show, Hannity allegedly told Schlussel they would team up against another panelist. But Schlussel told Campbell that the move was a “head-fake” against her.

“Sean came up to me and said we’re gonna double-team (which was a weird phrase to use) this Palestinian guy that I was up against on the show,” Schlussel said. “And then every time I tried to open my mouth and say something, they yelled at me and said obey your host, you can’t say anything or else we’re gonna shut off your microphone.”

After the show, Schlussel claims Hannity made another advance on her. “My dad and my brother were there in the green room,” Schlussel said, claiming that Hannity “tried to get me to go back with him to the hotel after the show.”

Schlussel claimed she rejected the offer a second time, and was not invited on any future Hannity programs.

“After that, I wasn’t booked on his show again. And he called me and yelled at me,” Schlussel said. “I got a very weird feeling about the whole thing, and I kind of knew I wouldn’t be back on his show.”

After her comments to Talk 1170 Radio received widespread media attention, Schlussel told Law Newz that she would not characterize Hannity’s behavior as sexual harassment. “I would never accuse him of that. Sexual harassment has a special meaning under the law,” she said.

She did, however, confirm that Hannity had propositioned her. “I never thought I was sexually harassed by Sean Hannity, I thought he was weird and creepy,” she said.

In a statement to The Daily Beast, Hannity denied Schlussel’s allegations and accused her of seeking attention.

“LET ME BE CLEAR THE COMMENTS ABOUT ME ON A RADIO SHOW THIS WEEK by this individual ARE 100 percent false and a complete fabrication,” Hannity wrote. “This individual is a serial harasser who has been lying about me for well over a decade. The individual has a history of making provably false statements against me in an effort to slander, smear and besmirch my reputation.”

“The individual has not just slandered me over the years but many people who this individual disagrees with,” Hannity wrote. “This individual desperately seeks attention by any means necessary, including making unfounded personal attacks and using indefensible and outrageous political rhetoric.”

He went on to threaten legal action against Schlussel.

“My patience with this individual is over. I have retained a team of some of the finest and toughest lawyers in the country who are now in the process of laying out the legal course of action we will be taking against this individual. In this fiercely divided and vindictive political climate I will no longer allow slander and lies about me to go unchallenged, as I see a coordinated effort afoot to now silence those with conservative views. I will fight every single lie about me by all legal means available to me as an American.”

Hannity and Schlussel have a history of clashing, after she wrote a 2010 blog post accusing him of running a scam charity for military families. Schlussel alleged that less than 4 percent of the revenue from Hannity’s “Freedom Concerts” went to U.S. troops and their families, and that most of the concerts’ earnings went to lavish expenses. Hannity and his colleagues denied the allegations.

In 2007, Schlussel wrote a blog post accusing Hannity of “deliberately ripping off” an anti-Muslim column she wrote in the New York Post.

“That’s Sean Hannity for you,” she wrote in the 2007 post. “This is not the first time he’s done this to me, just the latest.”

UPDATE #2:  And it isn’t just sexual harassment. Fox News has a race problem:

The letter also includes new allegations of racism in Fox News’ accounting department. According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Slater demanded that black female employees hold “arm wrestling matches’” with white female employees in her office, just down the hall from Ailes’s office on the second floor of Fox headquarters. “Forcing a black woman employee to ‘fight’ for the amusement and pleasure of her white superiors is horrifying. This highly offensive and humiliating act is reminiscent of Jim Crow era battle royals,” the letter says, referring to the practice of paying black men to fight blindfolded at carnivals for white spectators’ entertainment. The lawyers argue that Efinger bragged about wanting to “fight” a black employee.

The new claims, if true, reveal not just the failures of the legal and HR departments to deal with problematic managers but also just how deep the culture of discrimination and harassment may have run during Ailes’s reign.

Trump’s Favorite TV Show Is Misleading Him And Therefore The Country

Media Matters:

“For the record,” a top Fox News executive explained to the network’s newsroom a decade ago, “seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right. Nor does it mean it is ready for air on FNC.”

John Moody, at the time Fox’s vice president for news, issued that missive after Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade highlighted for their millions of viewers a right-wing outlet’s quickly debunked report that then-Sen. Barack Obama had gone to school at an extremist Islamic madrassa as a child. “The hosts violated one of our general rules, which is know what you are talking about,” Moody told The New York Times. “They reported information from a publication whose accuracy we didn’t know.”

Ten years later, the denizens of the program’s curvy couch still frequently don’t know what they are talking about. But now, their conspiracy theories and bogus claims are repeated by the White House as if they were credible reports from distinguished journalists. Under the Trump administration, the hosts and guests of Fox & Friends are setting the national agenda, thanks to their biggest fan, the president of the United States.

Last week, Fox senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano stopped by the set of Fox & Friends and claimed that unnamed intelligence sources had told him that late last year, a British spy agency had surveilled now-President Donald Trump on behalf of then-President Barack Obama.

The incident was typical for Napolitano, a 9/11 truther who regularly uses his Fox airtime to push paranoid conspiracy theories. But the response from the Trump administration was remarkable.

Two days later, White House press secretary Sean Spicer cited Napolitano’s claim during a briefing. Since then:

  • The British intelligence service has denied the charge.
  • The Trump administration was forced to discuss the incidents with the British government.
  • When a reporter asked Trump about the incident during a press conference with a foreign leader, the president claimed that “all we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television.”
  • Fox News admitted that it could not substantiate Napolitano’s claim.
  • Napolitano acknowledged that one of his sources was a well-known conspiracy theorist.
  • That conspiracy theorist said that Napolitano had botched the story.
  • A British newspaper owned by Fox chief executive Rupert Murdoch reported that the story may have been the result of a Russian intelligence operation.
  • The deputy director of the National Security Agency told BBC News that the charge was “arrant nonsense.”

“There was a time when a guy like Judge Andrew Napolitano could make some marginal remarks on Fox News, and only a large plume of non-White House officials would take him seriously,” The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple noted Friday. “Perhaps a website or two would pick up on them. Then everyone would move on to other matters. … Warning to Judge Napolitano: People in power are now listening to you. They’re case-building off of your reporting.”

If Trump can be said to treat Fox News personalities as his advisers, then the hosts of Fox & Friends are his kitchen cabinet. While the president regularly assails journalists as lying members of the “opposition party,” he praises Fox for producing “the most honest morning show” and calls its hosts “honorable people.”

Trump has said that he may owe his presidency to his years-long weekly interview segment on Fox & Friends, telling the show’s hosts earlier this year that “maybe without those call-ins, somebody else is sitting here.” Since becoming perhaps the most powerful person on the planet, Trump has continued to regularly watch the morning show, sometimes for hours at a time. He frequently tweets along with the program, commenting on the stories he sees and retweeting the broadcast’s feed. And those presidential comments set the news agenda for the rest of the press.

Given the president’s tendency to run with thinly sourced claims he gets from right-wing outlets, this is not a good sign.

Doocy and Kilmeade, who have hosted since the show’s debut in 1998, regularlyexposethemselvesasbigotedmisogynists. (Ainsley Earhardt, the program’s third co-host for the past year, provides run-of-the-mill conservative-inflected Fox commentary.)

Notably, Kilmeade has declared that “all terrorists are Muslims” (he later said he misspoke) and issued a shockingly racist rant about how Americans don’t have “pure genes” like the Swedes because “we keep marrying other species and other ethnics” (he subsequently apologized). Former Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson accused Doocy of engaging in “a pattern of severe and pervasive mistreatment” on and off air in her sexual harassment lawsuit against the network’s founder and chairman, Roger Ailes; while Ailes was pushed out, no public action was taken against Doocy.

They are also two of the dumbest people in the news business.

Lest you think I am exaggerating, please watch this clip of Trump’s favorite morning show hosts attempting to roast marshmallows over an open fire using a plastic spoon and their bare hands. Pay special attention to the look on Chris Wallace’s face as he observes the antics from a remote site with increasing disbelief, and eventually halts the segment to call them “dopes.”

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The gullibility and stupidity of Fox’s morning hosts is now an issue of national import. They frequently push obviously false and easily debunked claims, often based on dubious reports from sources that lack credibility. Some past examples include:

The Time A Federal Judge Scolded Them For Credulously Reporting A Parody Story. In 2007, just a few months after the hosts’ madrassa commentary spurred the network executive to warn them not to believe everything they see on the internet, they reported that a middle school student had been suspended for leaving a ham sandwich on a lunch table near Muslim students. At one point during the segment, Kilmeade said, “I hope we’re not being duped,” to which Doocy replied, “We’re not being duped. I’ve looked it up on a couple of different websites up there.” They were being duped; their source was a fabricated story from the hoax website Associated Content. Doocy subsequently issued a retraction and apology.  A federal judge later criticized the “gullible” hosts over the incident, saying their actions “should provide grist for journalism classes teaching research and professionalism standards in the Internet age.”

The Time Doocy Claimed Obama Fabricated An Earthquake (He Didn’t). In March 2010, Obama said a proposal to adjust Medicaid reimbursement rates for states affected by natural disasters “also affects Hawaii, which went through an earthquake.” Doocy suggested that Obama had made the earthquake up, noting that previous Hawaiian earthquakes came in 1868 and 1975. His allegation came from Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft, the dumbest man on the Internet and, not surprisingly, a regular source of Fox & Friends stories; an earthquake struck Hawaii in 2006.

The Time Fox & Friends Investigated Whether A Terrorist Ghostwrote Obama’s Autobiography. In March 2011, the program hosted WorldNetDaily columnist and noted conspiracy theorist Jack Cashill to discuss his claim that Obama’s first book, Dreams from My Father, was actually written by former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers.

The Time Doocy Told Trump That Obama “Could End It Simply — Just Show [The Birth Certificate] To Us.” In a series of segments in March and April 2011, the hosts supported Trump’s fact-free claims that Obama had not produced his birth certificate. During their regular interview segment, Doocy responded to Trump’s false statement that President Obama “has not given a birth certificate” by saying, “He could end it simply — just show it to us, and it’d be over.”

The Time The Show Invented A TSA Program To Test Airline Passenger DNA. The program ran a March 2011 segment suggesting that the Transportation Security Administration would soon begin testing airline passengers’ DNA at airports. Napolitano criticized the purported effort, saying it “offends the Constitution” and “feeds the government’s voracious appetite to control people”; Kilmeade defended TSA for “trying to stop illegal human trafficking.” Arguments about civil liberties aside, the entire story was made up, as Doocy acknowledged when he apologized for the “error” the next day.

The Time Fox & Friends Claimed Obama Wanted To Apologize To Japan For Hiroshima. In October 2011, the hosts lashed out at Obama because he supposedly had wanted to apologize to Japan for the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, but Japan had nixed the idea. The next day, Doocy sought to “clarify” the story by removing the portion of the story that had angered them, stating: “We want to be very clear. There was never a plan for President Obama to apologize to Japan. We should have been clear about that, and we’re sorry for the confusion.”

The Time They Falsely Claimed Obama Met With A Pirate But Not Netanyahu. Channeling a story from The Drudge Report, the hosts claimed in September 2012 that Obama had time to meet with a man in a pirate costume for Talk Like a Pirate Day, but had been “too busy” to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In fact, the photo of Obama and the pirate that the White House had tweeted out the previous day had been taken three years earlier for use during that year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Doocy and Fox & Friends subsequently acknowledged that fact on social media.

The Time They Pretended Obama Wanted To Take Kevlar Helmets Away From Cops. After a police officer survived the June 2016 mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, because he had been wearing a Kevlar helmet, Doocy suggested that the Obama administration had been “pushing to take away life-saving armor” like the helmet through a ban on the federal government transferring military equipment to police departments. Kevlar helmets are not on the list of banned equipment, as Doocy acknowledged in a clarification the next day.

The Time Fox & Friends Pushed The Conspiracy Theory That Google Was Manipulating Search Results To Help Hillary Clinton. In June 2016, Kilmeade and Napolitano accused Google of “manipulating the search [results] for Hillary [Clinton] to bury the bad stuff.” Napolitano said that “we know” Google “has” manipulated search results relating to Clinton according to a “very extensive test,” and that the result is an example of “the Google, Eric Schmidt [executive chairman of Google’s board of directors], President Obama, Democratic National Committee, West Wing circle that we all know exists.” But, according to CNNMoney, “Despite what you might have seen online, Google is not manipulating its search results to favor Hillary Clinton.”

The Time Doocy Pushed A Conspiracy Theory About A Murdered Democratic Staffer. In July 2016, Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich was murdered while walking home in his Washington, D.C., neighborhood. Conservatives subsequently suggested that he may have been murdered because he had helped WikiLeaks gain access to the DNC’s email servers (his family condemned these conspiracy theories). Fox & Friends picked up the story, with Doocy stating on air, “Some on the internet are suggesting, wait a minute, was [Rich] the source of the WikiLeaks DNC leaks?”

Now when Doocy and Kilmeade run credulous reports based on something they saw “on the internet,” the president is watching — and taking them seriously.

All very true.

And check out this Fox & Friends tweet just a few minutes ago….

No. It was historical.

Thoughts On Megyn Kelly Coming To NBC

It is no surprise to me that Megyn Kelly has decided to leave Fox. It’s not a secret how unhappy she had become at Fox in the wake of her high-profile feud with Donald Trump and revelations she had accused Ailes of sexual harassment. Her relationships with Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity in particular had completely broken down, one Fox host said.

She’ll be giving up the most loyal audience in cable news for new set of platforms that she’ll have to largely build herself. At NBC, Kelly will anchor an Oprah-like daytime show, launch a new Sunday night news magazine, and contribute to the network’s political coverage. The track record for talented anchors launching daytime programs hasn’t been good (see: Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira, Anderson Cooper), and no Fox News star has successfully crossed over to the mainstream before. But Kelly’s prodigious talents as a broadcaster, not to mention her canny media instincts, could help her defy the trend.

I think Kelly is smarter than the network she was on. Which is saying something.

I would LIKE to think she was merely playing the Fox game, and that she isn’t, as conservatives go, very repugnant.

On the other hand, I have been reminded of this….

December 2010: Kelly compares describing “illegal immigrants” as undocumented to calling “rape nonconsensual sex.”

And this….

December 2013: Weighing in on a story by an African American woman describing the pain she felt as a child when she constantly saw only white Santas, Kelly said, “Santa just is white…Jesus was a white man.”

And so on….

December 2015: During a discussion about Obama’s statement in which he made a distinction between ISIS and Islam, Kelly argued that denying ISIS is Islamic is denying “reality.”

But who knows?  Maybe she was following her executive producer.  Anyway, I wish her well on the side of angels.

Why You Can Blame The Media If Clinton Loses

The Shorenstein Center’s Thomas Patterson has analyzed Hillary Clinton’s press coverage during the month of the two political conventions. He presents his findings today in the LA Times:

If Clinton loses, blame the email controversy and the media

My analysis of media coverage in the four weeks surrounding both parties’ national conventions found that her use of a private email server while secretary of State and other alleged scandal references accounted for 11% of Clinton’s news coverage in the top five television networks and six major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. Excluding neutral reports, 91% of the email-related news reports were negative in tone. Then, there were the references to her character and personal life, which accounted for 4% of the coverage; that was 92% negative.

….How about her foreign, defense, social or economic policies? Don’t bother looking.Not a single one of Clinton’s policy proposals accounted for even 1% of her convention-period coverage; collectively, her policy stands accounted for a mere 4% of it. But she might be thankful for that: News reports about her stances were 71% negative to 29% positive in tone. Trump was quoted more often about her policies than she was.

Trump’s claim that Clinton “created ISIS,” for example, got more news attention than her announcement of how she would handle Islamic State.

The Latest Faux Clinton Scandal

Seriously?

This originated with Alex Jones at Infowars. It’s now on Drudge.

Watch the mainstream media talk about how her earring has “raised questions” in 3…2….1….

UPDATE:   Aaaaand less than 20 minutes after my initial post, Fox News bites down hard.  It’s source? A website nobody has ever heard of…

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Trump/Bondi And The Media Double Standard

Here is a timeline of events for your consideration. All of these events took place in 2013:

Mid-late August: Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi “personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump” “several weeks” before Bondi’s “office publicly announced it was deliberating whether to join a multi-state lawsuit proposed by New York’s Democratic attorney general.”

September 10: In an unusual show of interest in a down-ballot race in Florida, Ivanka Trump donates $500 to Bondi. Apparently that’s insultingly small.

September 13: Bondi tells theOrlando Sentinel that her office is “currently reviewing the allegations” that Trump University has defrauded its students.

September 17: The Trump Foundation makes a $25,000 contribution to a PAC backing Bondi.

October 15: The Florida Attorney General’s office backtracks, telling the Orlando Sentinel there was never any consideration of joining the lawsuit against Trump U because they had received only one complaint during the time Bondi was in office. This was untrue: the AG’s office had received a couple dozen complaints, but had weeded them out so they could say there was only one.

Now, if we are to apply the same journalistic standard that gets applied to Hillary Clinton, her emails, and the Clinton Foundation — that standard being “does this RAISE QUESTIONS” — then you would think the pay-for-sway by Trump to Bondi would be the hot story.  It isn’t.

There is no smoking gun in the Clinton scandals, but we talk about them ad nauseum.  There is no smoking gun here either, although this is about as close as you can get to one.

So yesterday, finally, the media — well, some of it — lightly broached the subject.  Like the Washington Post:

Donald Trump on Monday dismissed questions about his failure to disclose an improper $25,000 contribution to a political group connected to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who was at the time considering whether to open a fraud investigation against Trump University.

“I never spoke to her, first of all; she’s a fine person beyond reproach. I never even spoke to her about it at all. She’s a fine person. Never spoken to her about it. Never,” Trump said Monday while speaking to reporters in Ohio. “Many of the attorney generals turned that case down because I’ll win that case in court. Many turned that down. I never spoke to her.”

The $25,000 gift, paid by the Donald J. Trump Foundation, violated federal rules that prohibit charities from making donations to political candidates. Trump and his team also failed to disclose the large gift to the Internal Revenue Service, instead reporting that the donation was given to an unrelated group with a similar name — effectively obscuring the contribution.

Okay then.  I mean SHE says she talked to him, and he says he never spoke to her, but…. whatever.  [UPDATE:  Trump campaign clarified things this afternoon: “His comments were in reference to any discussion about Trump University — not the donation,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks told POLITICO Florida.  So he did apparently speak to Bondi… about the donation, not about Trump U… if you can believe that.]

Mind you, this is the same Trump who boasted in debates a year ago that when politicians call, he gives, and when he wants, he gets. They have no choice, he declared. Because he gave.  He knows about corruption because he’s seen it.

YES!

So why aren’t we discussing it?  It’s the same double standard that Hillary keeps talking about.

For Clinton, it’s a can’t-win proposition. If the press says the story looks bad, even if there’s nothing to suggest it actually is bad, she gets tagged with an optics problem. And because journalists are the only ones handing out the grades, they get to decide how bad it looks.

Frustrating?  Sure is says Paul Weldman:

At this point we should note that everything here may be completely innocent. Perhaps Bondi didn’t realize her office was looking into Trump University. Perhaps the fact that Trump’s foundation made the contribution (which, to repeat, is illegal) was just a mix-up. Perhaps when Trump reimbursed the foundation from his personal account, he didn’t realize that’s not how the law works (the foundation would have to get its money back from Bondi’s PAC; he could then make a personal donation if he wanted). Perhaps Bondi’s decision not to pursue the case against Trump was perfectly reasonable.

But here’s the thing: We don’t know the answers to those questions, because almost nobody seems to be pursuing them.

For instance, there was only one mention of this story on any of the five Sunday shows, when John Dickerson asked Chris Christie about it on “Face the Nation“ (Christie took great umbrage: “I can’t believe, John, that anyone would insult Pam Bondi that way”). And the comparison with stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails or the Clinton Foundation is extremely instructive. Whenever we get some new development in any of those Clinton stories, you see blanket coverage — every cable network, every network news program, every newspaper investigates it at length. And even when the new information serves to exonerate Clinton rather than implicate her in wrongdoing, the coverage still emphasizes that the whole thing just “raises questions” about her integrity.

When will the press finally stop “raising questions” for which the only answer is more innuendo and quit fixating on the “optics” of whatever it is alleged Hillary Clinton didn’t do (that she should have known better not to look like she did when she didn’t) and actually squeeze out some balance with their balance?

Or better yet…. just write the what things ARE and not what they COULD be.

P.S.  Also happened with the Texas AG, too.

Fox Settles With Gretchen Carlson

It’s over, although I don’t expect that corporate culture has changed at Fox News:

21st Century Fox has reached a $20 million settlement deal with Gretchen Carlson, the anchorwoman who sued Roger Ailes alleging harassment and retaliation in July.

The eight-figure deal is likely to have consequences across corporate America. Fox also apologized to Carlson in a highly unusual public statement on Tuesday morning.

“We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect that she and all our colleagues deserve,” 21st Century Fox said.

***

Ailes will pay an unknown portion of the settlement.

Ailes, the powerful Fox News CEO and chairman, resigned in the wake of the harassment allegations, which he has continuously denied.

Now out of his Fox job, Ailes is informally advising GOP nominee Donald Trump ahead of the presidential debates this fall.

Daly, this probably means we will never hear Gretchen’s “secret tapes” of Ailes and others at Fox.

Also, effective immediately, longtime Fox News host Greta Van Susteren is leaving the channel after 14 years, Fox News announced today. No reasons were given in the Fox News announcement for Van Susteren’s departure, and she did not immediately respond to a direct message seeking comment.  Some wonder if this has anything to do with the Carlson settlement/sexual harassment allegations.  Others say it was a financial disagreement.

UPDATE:  This just happened on Facebook

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Tantaros’ Complaint Against Fox News, O’Reilly, Ailes, and Others

What kind of a place is Fox News?  These allegations keep on coming.

Some excerpts:

[C]ommencing in February 2016, Bill O’Reilly (“O’Reilly”), whom Tantaros had considered to be a good friend and a person from whom she sought career guidance, started sexually harassing her by, inter alia, (a) asking her to come to stay with him on Long Island where it would be “very private,” and (b) telling her on more than one occasion that he could “see [her] as a wild girl,” and that he believed that she had a “wild side.” Fox News did take one action: plainly because of O’Reilly’s rumored prior sexual harassment issues and in recognition of Tantaros’s complaints, Brandi informed Cane that Tantaros would no longer be appearing on O’Reilly’s Fox News show, The O’Reilly Factor.

Ew…. and….

Perhaps the most shocking encounter of all was a Spring 2015 meeting between Tantaros and Fox News Senior Executive, Defendant William Shine (“Shine”), during which Tantaros sought relief from Ailes’s sexual harassment… In response, Shine told Tantaros that Ailes was a “very powerful man” and that Tantaros “needed to let this one go.” Yet, after Ailes was revealed to be a sexual predator and forced to resign, Shine was promoted to Co-President of Fox News. Shine’s inexplicable elevation sends the message that it will be “business as usual” at Fox News when it comes to the treatment of women

Here’s the whole thing:

A Bunch Of Funny Side Stories From This Week

(1)  NC GOP CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT, INCLUDING MOCKING DEMS

When Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night, the North Carolina GOP thought it quickly spotted something wrong.

When Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night, the North Carolina GOP thought it quickly spotted something wrong.

“[Tim Kaine] wears a Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American flag,” the state party tweeted as he was speaking. “Shameful.”

There was one problem: Kaine’s pin, which had a single blue star on a white background bordered with red, wasn’t the flag of Honduras, where he spent a year as a missionary decades ago. It was the symbol for Blue Star Families, or those with members serving in the military.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article92303587.html#storylink=cpy
“[Tim Kaine] wears a Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American flag,” the state party tweeted as he was speaking. “Shameful.”

ncgoptweet

There was one problem: Kaine’s pin, which had a single blue star on a white background bordered with red, wasn’t the flag of Honduras, where he spent a year as a missionary decades ago. It was the symbol for Blue Star Families, or those with members serving in the military.

The tweet was deleted with an apology.

(2) FROM HER GRAVE, ABIGAIL ADAMS PWNS BILL O’REILLY

Michelle Obama delivered a powerful speech during the Democratic National Convention on Monday, as the first lady shed light on the historical significance of her family’s eight years at the White House as its first African-American family.

“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves,” Mrs. Obama said in her keynote address. “I watch my daughters — two beautiful, intelligent, black young women — playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”

As it turned out, one person was not entirely amused and went so far as to “fact check” the first lady’s comments.

FOX News personality and political lightning rod Bill O’Reilly defended the working conditions slaves faced while building the White House by offering the following explanation during The O’Reilly Factor on Tuesday:

“Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802. However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor. So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well. Got it all? There will be a quiz.”

If there was a quiz, Bill failed.

The notion of the “happy slave” is old racist trope, and it is despicable that O’Reilly peddles this shit on television. But let’s get to the facts….

As O’Reilly noted, Michelle Obama’s predecessor as first lady, Abigail Adams was living in the White House at the time when slaves were building it, and she recorded her observations of those working on landscaping the grounds.

“The effects of Slavery are visible every where; and I have amused myself from day to day in looking at the labour of 12 negroes from my window, who are employd with four small Horse Carts to remove some dirt in front of the house,”she wrote. Moreover, Mrs. Adams took note of their condition—and her observation stands at odds with O’Reilly’s:

Two of our hardy N England men would do as much work in a day as the whole 12, but it is true Republicanism that drive the Slaves half fed, and destitute of cloathing, … to labour, whilst the owner waches about Idle, tho his one Slave is all the property he can boast.

“Half-fed”.

Adams’s rebuke to O’Reilly is not the first time that a benign recollection of slavery has broken apart on the shoals of reality.

(3)  SPEAKING OF FOX, THE TENSION THERE IS CRAAAAZY

The New York Times reports on hard times at Fox News:

Megyn Kelly and her co-hosts [at the Democratic convention], including Bret Baier and Brit Hume, have not been speaking during commercial breaks, according to two people with direct knowledge of the anchors’ interactions, who described the on-set atmosphere at Fox News as icy. During ads, the hosts are often absorbed with their smartphones.

….Employees say there is a continuing split inside the network, with one camp of old-guard Fox News loyalists — some of whom owe their careers to Mr. Ailes — upset at his ouster. Some are resentful toward Ms. Kelly for cooperating with lawyers brought in by the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, to investigate Mr. Ailes’s behavior. (About a dozen women have reported improper behavior by Mr. Ailes to investigators.)

Another contingent inside Fox News is equally dismayed by the responses of stars like Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greta Van Susteren and Jeanine Pirro, who were quick to publicly defend Mr. Ailes after he was accused of harassment in a suit filed by the former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

And the pressure really seems to have gotten to Bill O’Reilly:

“I think the time has come now, where this whole network is going to have to band together, all of us, and we’re going to have to call out the people who are actively trying to destroy this network, by using lies and deception and propaganda. We’re going to have to start to call them out by name, because that’s how bad it’s become,” he said.

….”Jesse Watters goes on the floor of the Democratic convention, and some photographer comes up and starts swearing at him and cursing at him right in his face? This is provocation,” he continued. “These people are doing this. They want me dead, Bolling, literally dead.”

Bolling responded to O’Reilly, “I’m not sure they want you dead.”

“Oh they do, believe me,” O’Reilly said.

Poor Bill. I think he revels in the notion that we all want him dead. It would be a shock to his ego to find out that most of us just want him to go away.

(4)  CONSERVATIVES AREN’T AWARE THAT BRADLEY COOPER ISN’T ACTUALLY A SNIPER

Bradley Cooper’s appearance at the Democratic National Convention has irked some conservative fans of the actor’s portrayal of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in 2014’s “American Sniper.”

Cooper was spotted by TV cameras Wednesday night seated at the meeting in Philadelphia alongside his Russian model girlfriend, Irina Shayk.

Some Twitter users say they plan to boycott Cooper’s future films over his presence at the convention. Another commented that they thought his experience playing Kyle would have rubbed off on him.

The complaints have been mocked by others who say Cooper was simply acting a role when playing Kyle and conservatives shouldn’t be surprised.

Cooper earned an Oscar nomination for “American Sniper,” which became a blockbuster thanks in part to an enthusiastic reception among conservative moviegoers.

(5)  LIKE AN IDIOT, DONALD TRUMP JR KEEPS PLAGIARISM IN THE HEADLINES WITH A REALLY BAD COUNTER-EXAMPLE

The plagiarism in question? It was an entire paragraph.  No three sentences.  One sentence?

Nope. Both men used the line “This is not the America I know” in their respective convention speeches.

The problem?  As NBC News pointed out, Obama has used versions of this line in several past speeches. In a 2010 speech, he used the line, “That is not the America we believe in.” And in addresses delivered in 2012 and 2016, he used the line, “That’s the America I know.”

Former President George W. Bush also once used the line, “That’s not the America I know,” as NBC News noted.

See, Don Jr., five or six common words can’t be plagiarism, whereas 70 or so?  Yeah.

(6)  THIS SHOULD BE AN ANTHEM

Fox News Chairmen Roger Ailes Has Until August 1 To Resign….

… or else he will be fired.  This comes on the heels of reports that Fox anchor Megyn Kelly has informed Fox management that she, too, like a Gretchen Carlson, has been sexually harassed by Ailes. New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reports:

According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York-based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances towards her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.

Kelly’s comments to investigators might explain why the Murdochs are moving so quickly to oust Ailes. As New York reported yesterday, Rupert and sons James and Lachlan, the three top executives at 21st Century Fox, have, according to multiple sources, decided that Ailes needs to be removed. Kelly, who has become something of a feminist icon thanks to her tangles with GOP nominee Donald Trump, is seen by many inside Fox as the future of the network. She’s currently in contract negotiations, and given that Bill O’Reilly has said he’s considering retirement, Fox can’t afford to lose her.

According to two sources, yesterday afternoon lawyers for 21st Century Fox gave Ailes a deadline of August 1st to resign or face being fired for cause. Ailes’s legal team, which now includes Susan Estrich, former campaign manager for Michael Dukakis, has yet to respond to the offer. Ailes has also received advice on strategy from Donald Trump and Rudy Guiliani, sources say.

UPDATE: News reports are now saying Ailes is out in a couple of days with a nice 40 million dollar parachute.

The Milli Vanilli of Fireworks

I was on the National Mall on the Fourth and it was not what was broadcast:

If you were watching Washington’s Fourth of July fireworks outside on Monday night and also happened to catch PBS’s broadcast of “A Capitol Fourth,” you might have noticed something looked…a little off.

The actual weather in Washington was cloudy and misty, making it quite difficult to view the fireworks. But on “A Capitol Fourth,” the annual concert special that airs live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, many of the fireworks (primarily in the second half of the display) looked glorious in a clear sky. Immediately, people started commenting on Twitter….

PBS acknowledged intercutting old footage with its live broadcast shortly after the show ended, saying in a tweet, “We showed a combination of the best fireworks from this year and previous years. It was the patriotic thing to do.”

Well, it was the American thing to do — faking patriotism.

Why Is Trump Running For President?

Possible answer: Maybe he’s not.

Vanity Fair reports that Trump is considering starting a cable news empire:

The breakout media star of 2016 is, inarguably, Donald Trump, who has masterfully—and horrifyingly—demonstrated an aptitude for manipulating the news cycle, gaining billions of dollars worth of free airtime, and dominating coverage on every screen. Now, several people around him are looking for a way to leverage his supporters into a new media platform and cable channel.

Trump is indeed considering creating his own media business, built on the audience that has supported him thus far in his bid to become the next president of the United States. According to several people briefed on the discussions, the presumptive Republican nominee is examining the opportunity presented by the “audience” currently supporting him. He has also discussed the possibility of launching a “mini-media conglomerate” outside of his existing TV-production business, Trump Productions LLC. He has, according to one of these people, enlisted the consultation of his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law,Jared Kushner, who owns the The New York Observer. Trump’s rationale, according to this person, is that, “win or lose, we are onto something here. We’ve triggered a base of the population that hasn’t had a voice in a long time.” For his part, Kushner was heard at a New York dinner party saying that “the people here don’t understand what I’m seeing. You go to these arenas and people go crazy for him.” (Both Kushner and Ivanka Trump did not respond to a request for comment.)

***

Hope Hicks, Trump’s spokeswoman, adamantly denied that such conversations have occurred. (“There is absolutely no truth to this whatsoever,” she told me. “This hasn’t been even uttered. Not even thought about.”) Then, after conferring with Trump, she issued a subsequent statement clarifying her point: “While it’s true Mr. Trump garners exceptionally high ratings, there are absolutely no plans or discussions taking place regarding a venture of this nature.” Meanwhile, someone close to Kushner has suggested that Trump would be unlikely to go so far as to seek out a partner at this stage of the race, given that it might risk alienating many of the established media players that he has outflanked—and that he is relying on to get him elected. (Such a move would also inevitably raise issues regarding the F.C.C.’s “equal-time” rule.) Nevertheless, shortly after my correspondence with Hicks, he tweeted out: “The press is so totally biased that we have no choice but to take our tough but fair and smart message directly to the people!”

Now the Trump campaign, and the way he is conducting it, is starting to make sense.  For Trump, it really is about ratings, and not about votes.

See also, Josh Marshall, who argues that “Trump’s Not Doing Poorly; He’s Not Even Running”

Others might do it well or poorly. But Trump isn’t doing any of it. There’s a Politico story out today about how the RNC gave him the names of twenty big GOP donors to call. He got bored or frustrated and stopped after calling three. And this comes after deciding that he actually doesn’t need to raise a billion dollars.

No, Greta Van Susteran Is Not The “Smart” One At Fox News

The last paragraph of the article she links to:

Though the encounter took place more than 10 months ago, New Horizons is still beaming flyby data home, and likely won’t be done doing so until this coming fall, mission team members have said.

Space, it turns out, is very big.  Pluto is far away — very far away, more than 30 times Earth’s distance from the Sun — so New Horizons’ radio signal is weak. Weak signal means low data rates: at the moment, New Horizons can transmit at most 1 kilobit per second. (Note that spacecraft communications are typically measured in bits, not bytes; 1 kilobit is only 125 bytes.) Even at these low data rates, only the Deep Space Network’s very largest, 70-meter dishes can detect New Horizons’ faint signal.

Not hard to find this out if you know how to use Google, or even read your source material, Greta.

Trump At War With Fox

This may be the point where the fracture in the Republican Party becomes unfixable.

You have a candidate who leads the GOP poll by double digits nationally, fighting with the media mouthpiece of the GOP in a bizarre carnival of testosterone.

It’s the climax of a bizarre confrontation between the candidate and the dominant conservative news outlet. The first debate the network hosted involved some tense moments between Trump and Megyn Kelly, one of Fox’s premier personalities. The aftermath was much uglier, with Trump making comments about Kelly that were acknowledged as misogynistic by pretty much everyone except, well, Trump.

Fox announced that Kelly would be moderating tomorrow’s debate, too, and Trump started making noises about a boycott.

Fox responded by mocking Trump: “We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president—a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”

That was too much for Trump, who announced his intention to skip the debate. Since then, the two sides have engaged in continuing skirmishes. Trump called the ayatollah statement “a disgrace to good broadcasting and journalism. Who would ever say something so nasty & dumb.” Fox accused Trump’s campaign of threatening Kelly. Trump called Kelly a bimbo, while claiming he wouldn’t. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz—who’s been engaged in a tense struggle with his old pal Trump for dominance in Iowa—piped up to challenge Trump to an alternate, “mano-a-mano” debate.

Anyone who confidently predicts how this will shake out is either bluffing or employed by Trump or Fox. If Fox manages to get one up on Trump, it’d be a huge victory. Trump has consistently managed to marginalize conservative media outlets throughout the campaign, including, to a certain extent, Fox.

But Trump announced he wouldn’t be attending.  The gamble could pay off because it shows Trump marching to the beat of his own drum, a promise consistent with the message of his campaign that has caught on with voters.

It seems to me that GOP voters would be served by Trump NOT being there.  I think it opens up the other candidates to say what need to be said and (incredibly) still hasn’t been said on the right — that Trump is in this for Trump (not public service), that it is about extending the Trump brand (even while serving as President), and that when confronted with such daunting foes as Megyn Kelly, he whines like a four year old.

Hell, I’d watch that debate.

Thoughts and Prayers

There seems to be a backlash to this almost reflexive (and increasingly meaningless) response to mass shootings, best exemplified by the cover of today’s New York Daily News:

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There has also been a backlash to the backlash.  Christians got offended at what is being called “thoughts and prayers shaming”.  The Weekly Standard offered a headline that blared,“Liberal Outrage Over Prayers for Shooting Victims.” And the American Conservative predictably complained that “We have reached the point in our culture in which leading voices on the Left feel compelled to shout from the rooftops condemnation on Christians for offering something as ordinary and decent as prayers for atrocity victims as a first response to news of the killings. Think about that for a moment. When the simple offering of prayers for the dead and wounded are grounds for spiteful attack, it is hard to avoid wondering just what commonalities bind us as Americans anymore.” And Fox & Friends First tweeted out “Prayer Shaming After Mass Shooting: While GOP Calls For Prayers, Mainstream Media Mocks Them.”  Here’s Rand Paul:

Uh no.  What is being attacked is offering “thoughts and prayers” in the absence of action.  Nothing wrong with “thoughts and prayers” itself, especially if….

That’s a good point.  I suspect that most of these politicians don’t actually pray at all.  I wish they could be asked, what do you think about?  What to you pray for?  Peace for the family’s of the victims, certainly — but is that IT?  What are you doing to make sure you aren’t thinking about and praying for FUTURE victims’ families? Today’s Internet belongs to Mary Beth Williams at Slate, if only for writing this:

It’s not prayer shaming to say that a lot of us — a lot of us who find comfort in prayer — are sick of the very people whose rhetoric and policies are helping perpetuate a culture of death hiding helplessly behind God whenever blood is shed. Which happens to occur quite often.

Related:

Also related: Look how the other New York tabloid changed its cover:

Before —  

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Later on —

CVTm1l8VAAAoXl- Blatant bigotry aside, it’s also important to call out the Post’s inconsistent focus on religion in the aftermath of mass shootings in America. After last Friday’s Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado, the paper not only failed to feature the story on its front page, its editors opted not to label the shooter a “Christian Killer” in any accompanying stories.

And THIS:

Nice Vetting, Fox News

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CNN reports:

Wayne Simmons, a recurring guest on Fox News who claimed to have 27 years of experience with the CIA, was arrested Thursday after being indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he lied about his service.

Simmons is accused of falsely claiming that he worked as an “outside paramilitary special operations officer” for the CIA from 1973 to 2000. On Fox, this was often shortened to “former CIA operative.”

He was also indicted for using that false claim to gain government security clearances and an assignment as a defense contractor, where he advised senior military personnel overseas.

Simmons made his initial appearance in court on Thursday afternoon. If convicted, he could face up to 35 years in prison on charges of major fraud against the United States, wire fraud, and making false statements to the government.

Simmons is a familiar face to Fox News viewers. After the arrest was announced on Thursday, Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti told CNN that he “was never a contributor for Fox News,” and that he appeared on the network only as a non-paid guest. She therefore declined to comment further.

Hmmmm.  I don’t know what Fox News means when they say “contributor”, but it seems to me that if he was invited onto Fox News to contribute his “expert” opinion, he was by all definitions a “contributor” and it makes no difference whether he was paid or not.

Some of his Fox News claims: There Are ’19 Paramilitary Muslim Training Facilities’ In The U.S.

But seriously, the indictment is pretty serious, charging him with major fraud against the United States, wire fraud, and making false statements to the government.  The indictment is below the fold….

Jorge Ramos Commits A Heinous Act Of Journalism

So Trump gave another news conference last night that was an exercise in rudeness.

Basically what happened was this:

Jorge Ramos, the Univision anchor and journalist, extensively squabbled with Donald Trump twice in testy exchanges at a news conference before his rally here Tuesday, with a security officer at one point ejecting Ramos from the event.

“Go back to Univision,” Trump told Ramos early in their first back-and-forth. Ramos had attempted to engage with Trump on his positions, though he had not been called upon, standing and lobbing concerns about Trump’s plan at the candidate.

“Sit down. Sit down. Sit down,” Trump said.

***

Ramos did return, but the ensuing exchange was far from polite.

“Here’s the problem with your immigration plan. It’s full of empty promises,” Ramos said, when allowed back into the press room.

He charged that Trump’s agenda to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and to stop giving automatic citizenship to their children born on U.S. soil was unrealistic, but Trump defended his plan as simple and possible. He reminded Ramos of his $500 million lawsuit against Univision and told him, “I have a bigger heart than you do.”

After Trump said Wednesday that Ramos was “ranting and raving like a mad man.”

American journalists are wringing their hands over what Ramos said and did, saying that he was not engaging in journalism, but advocacy.  This is silly, and I agree with Greenwald as to why:

Here we find, yet again, the enforcement of unwritten, very recent, distinctively corporatized rules of supposed “neutrality” and faux objectivity which all Real Journalists must obey, upon pain of being expelled from the profession. A Good Journalist must pretend they have no opinions, feign utter indifference to the outcome of political debates, never take any sides, be utterly devoid of any human connection to or passion for the issues they cover, and most of all, have no role to play whatsoever in opposing even the most extreme injustices.

Thus: you do not call torture “torture” if the U.S. government falsely denies that it is; you do not say that the chronic shooting of unarmed black citizens by the police is a major problem since not everyone agrees that it is; and you do not object when a major presidential candidate stokes dangerous nativist resentments while demanding mass deportation of millions of people. These are the strictures that have utterly neutered American journalism, drained it of its vitality and core purpose, and ensured that it does little other than serve those who wield the greatest power and have the highest interest in preserving the status quo.

What is more noble for a journalist to do: confront a dangerous, powerful billionaire-demagogue spouting hatemongering nonsense about mass deportation, or sitting by quietly and pretending to have no opinions on any of it and that “both sides” are equally deserving of respect and have equal claims to validity? As Ramos put it simply, in what should not even need to be said: “I’m a reporter. My job is to ask questions. What’s ‘totally out of line’ is to eject a reporter from a press conference for asking questions.”

Being neutral and unaggressive is how they get things past journalists.

The Dishonest Attack On Shaun King

shaunkingI saw this story bubbling a couple days ago, and even the mainstream media was touching it.  Certainly, Fox was.  It has to do with the race of a #BlackLivesMatter activist named Shaun King.  In the blogosphere, Breitbart “News” seems to have launched a virulent attack Shaun King, alleging that he’s been lying about his heritage like Rachel Dolezal, and is actually white, not black.

Here’s Shaun King’s response to this mess, posted at Daily Kos, and it’s a damned shame that he even had to write this: Race, Love, Hate, and Me: A Distinctly American Story. I won’t quote from this; just go and read it.

Shame on the mainstream journalists who fell for yet another creepy hit piece from right wing blogs they should have known better than to trust as sources. How many times do they need to get burned before they learn this lesson?

Megyn Kelly – Donald Trump Dust

I really dislike Megyn Kelly.  I think her politics are terrible, and she doesn’t carry even the semblance of being “fair and balanced”.  But she was an excellent moderator and while I don’t think that questions about “elect-ability”  are the best questions for a presidential debate, she treated everyone equally.  And even for a conservative, she’s better and smarter than the network she is on.

Donald Trump whined like a schoolyard kid about how “unfair” Kelly was to him in the debates, and made sexist remarks about her all weekend.  Kelly took the high road when she returned to work yesterday:

The part I like best?  The last sentence and the emphasis on “the news”.  Nicely done.

Fox Is Breaking Up With Trump And He’s Not Taking It Well

It’s pretty clear that the Fox moderators were coming down pretty hard on Trump, and although he got the most speaking time, he wasn’t really asked much on policy.  Instead, he was put on defensive (more than the others) about his elect-ability and tone.

After the debate, Trump complained that the moderators asked him “unfair” questions, and criticized Fox’s Megyn Kelly for a question she asked about his comments toward women.  Even Trump competitor Lindsay Graham agreed that the moderators engaged “more of an inquisition” when it came to Trump.

And following the debate, pollster Frank Luntz compiled a focus group of Republicans on Fox, who generally showed disfavor to Trump.  It seems obvious that Roger Ailes instructed the Fox people to go after Trump, something Megyn Kelly clearly was ready to do.

At the Intelligencer, a reporter writes:

Campaign lawyer Michael Cohentweeted that it was a “total setup” designed to “lower #Trump2016 high poll numbers.” Another Trump adviser told me that the debate was “vicious” and a “hit job.”

Trump took to Twitter last night to vent:

This is the kind of schism I enjoy.  What happens when the right wing go-to news channel attacks the most popular right-wing candidate?  This is rather unprecedented.  Ultimately, Trump is going to lose, and Fox will go on.  But is Fox News alienating some of its viewers in the process?  And where will they go for their news and information?

Trump/Fox Thoughts

Another day of all-Trump news.  Only because some new polls showed him way ahead, but only one day of that poll was taken after Trump’s McCain comments.

I guess the latest is that Trump gave out Lindsay Graham’s phone number in a speech.  Intentionally.  Serious douche.

But the only thing I wanted to add was how Fox is handling the Trump story.  And the answer is….. delicately.  They don’t want to call him a jackass too much and alienate their viewers in the base.  So they just end up asking questions, i.e.,

Fox News Person:  Is Trump going to hurt the Republican party?  If only by sucking air from the other candidates?

Fox News Expert Guest:  Well, only time will tell.  He certainly has a strong following.

Fox News Person:  The polls don’t seem to have much to say about the backlash after insulting McCain.

Fox News Expert Guest:  They don’t, although whether something will happen in the future is the $64,000 question.

…. and so on.  Aaaaaaaalllll day.

It’s pretty funny.

Gawker Does The Right Thing . . . Too Little, Too Late Though

I was going to write about a certain story, but I didn’t want to promote it.  Basically, the Gawker news site put a story up online about a certain person you have never heard.  And it doesn’t matter who it is.  But he is the brother of someone in Obama’s cabinet, and the CFO of a major publishing company.

And the story was long and detailed, but the thrust of it was simple: this man, who has a wife and kids, paid $2,500 to have sex with a male escort.  How did Gawker get the story?  The male escort was trying to blackmail the man-in-question, and passed on texts and emails to Gawker.  Which Gawker published last evening.  They basically outed a guy and destroyed his personal and possibly his career.

Gawker’s story, written by Jordan Sargent, instantly and almost universally provoked unbridled scorn, and rightfully so.  The story had many problems — including the question of whether the subject was prominent enough to be covered at all.  And for the LGBTQ community in particular, the story brought back memories of people effectively weaponizing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity for blackmail and other threats.

Gawker’s editor-in-chief Max Read defended the story in a way that is utterly laughable, and it’s grounded in a premise that is very common when people want to wallow in others’ private lives, yet incredibly toxic.  He tweeted:

Ugh. Gawker wants you to think it is simply on the prowl to locate and punish adulterers who are vandalizing the sanctity of their marital vows. It’s just about solemn retribution for sinners. They are posing as the chivalrous defender of this man’s wife. (And note the sexist attitude of the tweet — what if a “married c-suite executive is cheating on her husband?)

But in truth, they are are hoping for clicks and pageviews so they can get revenue from their advertisers.  That’s all.  It’s not news — it is cllick-bait.

Even if you buy Read’s justification, you know it is a lie.  Read has no idea whether the CFO’s wife knew about the adultery or not. To justify the article, Read is feigning knowledge that he in fact completely lacks: the private, intimate understanding between the CFO whose life he tried to destroy and the wife whom he has deluded himself into believing he’s protecting.

A good rule of decency is to stay out of the private, personal, and sexual lives of consenting adults, absent some very compelling reason to involve yourself (such as damaging hypocrisy on the part of a political figure). The temptations to intrude into and sit in judgment of those aspects of other people’s lives are powerful, but they’re almost always lowly, self-degrading and scummy. If you have any doubts about that, reading that vile Gawker post will permanently dispel them.

So…..

I was going to write about all that, but Gawker just did the right thing, and took down the article.  Here’s the story about that, from, well, Gawker:

Yesterday, Gawker published a post about the CFO of Condé Nast attempting to pay a gay porn star for a night in a Chicago hotel. Today the managing partnership of Gawker Media voted, 5-1, to remove it. Executive editor Tommy Craggs, who helped edit the piece, was the sole dissenter.

The vote to remove the post, which was written by staff writer Jordan Sargent and edited by several other Gawker staffers, comes after widespread criticism from our own readers and other outlets. Along the Craggs, every other member of Gawker Media’s editorial leadership, including Gawker’s editor-in-chief Max Read and the executive editors of Gawker Media’s Politburo, strenuously protested removing the post.

The partners who voted to remove the post were Heather Dietrick, who serves as president and chief legal counsel; Andrew Gorenstein, who serves as the president of advertising and partnerships; chief operating officer Scott Kidder; chief strategy officer Erin Pettigrew; and chief executive officer Nick Denton, who founded Gawker Media in 2002. Along with Tommy Craggs, they belong to Gawker Media’s managing partnership, which Denton established in 2014 and whose members decide on all major company matters.

“The point of this story was not in my view sufficient to offset the embarrassment to the subject and his family,” Denton wrote in a lengthy statement issued on Friday afternoon. “Accordingly, I have had the post taken down. It is the first time we have removed a significant news story for any reason other than factual error or legal settlement.”

Score one for the mission-to-civilize.

Unfortunately, they don’t actually apologize.  They’re basically saying, we were right to post it, and we’re right to take it down.  Ugh again.

Fox News Airs “Dehumanizing” Segment On Homeless

Yeah, I tend to agree.  This segment plays into some of the worst stereotypes about the homeless.

This “Watter’s World” guy is Jesse Watters, and his shtick is to interview people on the street to show how dumb they are.  It’s always mean-spirited, and a little old (Jay Leno had been doing it for years).  But to Fox, I guess that’s journalism.

Apparently, there is an increase in homeless people in Penn Station, but the only evidence of this is apparently some Fox News staffers and some observations of a few New Yorkers.  And even if there are more homeless in Penn Station, it probably has nothing to due with lax police enforcement under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policing policies, but rather, an increase in the homeless nationwide, as well as chops in FEDERAL funding for things like the Department of Housing and Urban Development (thank you, GOP).

Obama Uses N-Word; Media Misses The Point

President Obama appeared on the WTF podcast with Marc Maron and had a long, thoughtful, and useful conversation about race in America, which included this point:

“We’re not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of not being polite to say ‘nigger’ in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t overnight completely erase everything that happened 200 or 300 years prior.”

Anyone want to guess what the media is focusing on?

nowrd

 

The Stewart- Miller Interview

People wonder if The Daily Show will be as funny when Jon Stewart moves on.  Maybe,  Maybe not.  But comedy aside, I wonder if the new host will have the same journalistic chops as Stewart.

Judith Miller is making her rounds with a new memoir titled “The Story: A Reporter’s Journey.” She reportedly got a $1.2 million dollar advance for the book — and even the New York Times isn’t buying it.  Jon Stewart called it: “The ‘Eat Pray Love’ of getting us into the Iraq war.”

The book is an effort that seems to be, in large part, motored by the disgraced New York Times journalist’s desire to amend the narrative of her life — and, of U.S. history — the public has latched onto for the last decade. Stewart has been one of Miller’s loudest critics, claiming on several occasions that she had a major role in pushing the U.S. into the Iraq war. Naturally, she hit up “The Daily Show” Wednesday night in an attempt to silence a voice which has cemented her unfavorable narrative in place over the years.

Stewart would have none of it.  This was not going to be a typical come-on-the-show-and-plug-your-book interview.  He had read the book and he was prepared.  He gave a master class in adversarial journalism; something Miller was obviously incapable of in the run-up to the war. Several things are notable about the interview that was so contentious you could feel the studio audience holding their collective breath because comedic schtick was being set aside and the type on interviewing that should happen on “Meet The Press” was happening in real time.

“I believe that you helped the administration take us to, like, the most devastating mistake in foreign policy that we’ve made in, like, 100 years… but you seem lovely,” Stewart told Miller, kicking off a combative and entertaining verbal sparring match.

The embattled reporter repeated her typical lines of defense—that the intelligence sources she used were not Dick Cheney or George Bush and “had really never been wrong before,” and that they’d steered her right “on al Qaeda before 9/11” and on a story about the Soviet Union hiding a “huge cache of biological weapons.”

She even, on two occasions, passed some of the blame for the Iraq War narrative onto Bill and Hillary Clinton, saying, “It was Bill Clinton who was worried about Iraq. Long before George Bush bombed Iraq, Bill Clinton did—1998-2000 missions for WMD. What I think changed was that, after 9/11, the risk that America was willing to tolerate just plummeted,” Miller said, also adding that Bush administration officials had “persuaded a lot of Democrats—Hillary Clinton.”

“Well, it turns out idiocy is bipartisan,” cracked Stewart.

Stewart did not let Miller off easy, claiming that Miller partook in a “concerted effort” to lead us into a war with Iraq.

“I think it was a concerted effort to take us into war in Iraq. You had to shift, with energy, the focus of America from Afghanistan and al Qaeda to Iraq. That took effort,” Stewart said. “Somebody pointed the light at Iraq, and that somebody is the White House, and the Defense Department, and Rumsfeld. He said right after 9/11, ‘Find me a pretext to go to war with Iraq.’ That’s from the 9/11 papers and the study.”

All this led to a very heated exchange between Stewart and Miller:

MILLER: “Jon, were we not supposed to report what it was that had the intelligence community so nervous about Saddam?”

STEWART: “No. You should have reported it, though, in the context of this administration was very clearly pushing a narrative, and by losing sight of that context, by not reporting—”

MILLER: “I think we did.”

STEWART: “I wholeheartedly disagree with you.”

MILLER: “That’s what makes journalism.”

STEWART: “It’s actually not what makes journalism…”

After several back-and-forths between the satirist and a deflecting Miller, Stewart closed the interview on a somber note, hardly looking at her and  — you’ve heard the expression ‘his contempt was palpable’? — whoa, nelly.

“Alright. We’re obviously never going to see eye-to-eye on it. I appreciate you coming on the program,” Stewart said while looking down at his desk.” These discussions always make me incredibly sad because  they point to institutional failure at the highest levels and no one will take responsibility for them.”

Watch it:

Pace Yourselves, Media

Sometime in this campaign season, several months from now, the press will start complaining of “Clinton fatigue”, and how everybody is sick of Hillary Hillary Hillary. When they do, I want everyone to remember that the New York Times ran an article yesterday about Hillary Clinton ordering a burrito bowl at Chipotle in Maumee, Ohio.

UPDATE:  Fox’s Andrea Tantaros, even though she is aware that she went icognito, speculates that Hillary Clinton went to Chipotle for “hispanic outreach”, thus making Andrea Tantaros incredibly stupid.

It’s Perving and Slut-Shaming Season

Like clockwork, around this time of year, Sean Hannity has the unpleasant job — no, he really hates doing this — of telling his viewers about the terrible terrible debauchery going down in Florida, as students flock to places like South Padre Island or Daytona Beach to drink, do drugs, have wild and glorious hook-up sex — all the things we think they’re doing in their dorms, but now are doing on the beach.  And thankfully, they are doing it on the beach so that Hannity and Fox News can send their cameras and correspondents down there to film all the youthful shenanigans like drug-doing and boob-showing and swear-saying and drink-drinking, and then, from the safety of their studio, tut-tut at the perky sinful bodies of today’s youth and clutch their pearls at the frilly frolicking.

This year Hannity sent a Fox blonde — does it really matter which one? — once again down to Panama City Beach for a “Hannity Exclusive”, which involves her going up to a black guy and saying to him, “When I was at spring break there was underage drinking and alcohol, but I hear it’s gotten a lot worse. I hear there’s, like, drugs and guns.”  Her interviewee walks away saying, “Yeah, I don’t know nothing about that,” and then the Fox Blonde says, “Come here, what’s this? He’s smoking marijuana.”

Back in the studio, Hannity and Fox Blonde are very very concerned about the marijuana and the sex-having and the bad things that these young adults are doing while two-thirds of the screen is devoted to hot bods and twerking. You know, so that Fox News viewers know what they’re talking about.

But don’t take my word for it.  See for yourself.  Perv.

I don’t know. Maybe there is a story there. With all that alcohol and testosterone, it wouldn’t surprise me if some women — somewhere — are being taken advantage of. But I see no evidence of that in their story, and Fox News is not reporting that. Fox News is not INTERESTED in reporting that. It just wants to get all high-brow about youth’s morals. Ugh

The Media Is Covering The Clinton E-mail “Flap” Because It Is In The Media

The media coverage of the flap/scandal/whatever surrounding Hillary Clinton’s emails is embarrassing.  If you’ve been living under a rock, it has come out that Hillary Clinton, while serving as Secretary of State, used a private email server to send and receive emails, thus (arguably) violating a rule set forth by the National Archives (not a law, as in a criminal law, but a rule relating to archives).

Why is this important?  Well, it probably isn’t.  There were no security issues.  At worst, it gives ammunition to Clinton’s critics who think she is “hiding something”, but of course, they were saying that ANYWAY.  Now, of course, they are calling on Clinton to prove she didn’t destroy any email relevant to Benghazi or any other scandal (and think about that — how would YOU prove you didn’t destroy any sensitive emails?).  In other words, on the merits, the hyperventilation is way out ahead of the actual facts.

When Clinton held her press conference two days ago, the media covered it breathlessly, and almost every media outlet asked this question, in one form or another, of its reporters: “Did this press conference put the issue behind her…. or will the media frenzy continue?”

That’s right — the MEDIA was asking ITSELF if the MEDIA frenzy would continue.  And of course, the answer was “no, we have to keep covering this”.  Because nothing sells like potential scandal, even if there is no evidence of actual scandal (this is what dogged Bill Clinton during his presidency).

Paul Waldman, writing at The Week, absolutely nails the point at which MSM reporting on the Clintons so often leaves the rails:

When this email story broke, how many journalists said it was important because it “plays into a narrative” of Hillary Clinton as scandal-tainted? I must have heard it a dozen times just in the past week.

Here’s a tip for my fellow scribes and opinionators: If you find yourself justifying blanket coverage of an issue because it “plays into a narrative,” stop right there. That’s a way of saying that you can’t come up with an actual, substantive reason this is important or newsworthy, just that it that bears some superficial but probably meaningless similarity to something that happened at some point in the past. It’s the updated version of “out there” — during the Clinton years, reporters would say they had no choice but to devote attention to some scurrilous charge, whether there was evidence for it or not, because someone had made the charge and therefore it was “out there.”

“Narratives,” furthermore, aren’t delivered from Mt. Sinai on stone tablets. They’re created and maintained by journalists making decisions about what’s important and how different issues should be understood. If you’re going to tell us that a new issue “plays into a narrative,” you ought to be able to say why there’s something essentially true or significant about that narrative.

Yup!

Williams Out

Brian_Williams_1005It sucks right now to be NBC’s Brian Williams.  And this news story about the news just demonstrates how stupid the news has become.

The NBC newsman was suspended Tuesday night for six months amid charges that he misremembered or conflated wartime incidents he reported on from Iraq and Israel. He has also come under scrutiny for possible conflations in reporting from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Williams told stories that, among other things, misrepresented his proximity to danger or death. Some have called his reportage “humble-bragging,” trying to enhance his reputation by focusing on supposed duress.
The main misremembrance, for which Williams apologized last week, pertains to a 2003 incident in Iraq. Williams said that the Army Chinook he was riding in was forced down by a rocket-propelled grenade — except that his helicopter wasn’t the one that was hit.

Then in 2006, while covering the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, Williams initially reported on MSNBC that he was flying at about 1,500 feet and could see two rockets launched from about six miles away.

A month later, the story changed when he told Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart that rockets passed 1,500 feet below his helicopter. Then in 2007, he told an audience at Fairfield University that the rockets sailed just beneath him.

In the New Orleans incident, Williams reported that he saw a corpse floating down the street from his hotel window. But Williams was in the Ritz-Carlton on the edge of the French Quarter, where there was little to no flooding.
These are conflicting statements, to be sure, but were they malicious or intentionally misleading? Or, are they just stories that get better in the retelling, as humans tend to do

The answer is the second.  Our recollection of traumatic events is often flawed in some part because fear alters the brain and memory. Whether one is hit or not, surely the terror of flying where rockets are near can magnify and distort events.

But more importantly — and incredibly, I think I’m the only one who actually has said this — these misremembrances only reflect upon Brian Williams the man or Brian Williams the celebrity.  In other words……WHO CARES?  Will people TRUST Brian Williams again??? Are you serious with that question???

Let me put it this way — if Brian Williams got on TV and delivered the news — NOT his personal experiences, but the news — would anybody doubt him?  If he reported:

President Obama’s has sent draft war powers to Congress this morning.  The proposed legislation would repeal the 2002 Authorization for Uses of Military Forces which gave broad powers to the President (Bush, then Obama) after Sept. 11 attacks.

…. would anyone think he was LYING?

And not for nothing, but Jon Stewart is right.  If the media had exhibited this much scrutiny on Bush & Cheney & Rumsfeld, and held them accountable for their lies — which is what the media should be doing rather than eating its own — we would have saved thousands of lives.

I hate this Brian Williams story.  On the other hand, he would make a great replacement for Jon Stewart.

UPDATE – Ed Gilgore gets it, too (or rather, doesn’t get it):

So remind me again why the Brian Williams saga is supposed to be a big deal to anyone other than him or his embarrassed employer? No, I don’t like to see anybody lose their job—or for that matter, to be suspended without pay for six months—but I’m guessing Williams won’t be missing any meals. Is his admitted lie some sort of blow to the Fourth Estate? Only if you have a very, very old-fashioned regard for the glorified news-readers we call network anchors. Fact is, it’s not even clear if or how Williams’ lie or lies affected his network’s coverage of Iraq or of Katrina, unless you are going to join the doomed and nasty cause of those suggesting the latter was no worse than a bad thunderstorm.

Some conservatives are giving the old heave-ho to the claim that Williams is a“liberal” trophy whose downfall should be greeted by lusty cheers from Real Americans everywhere. But there was nothing especially ideological about the self-aggrandizing fibs Williams told to make himself part of the “stories” he was telling, and as WaPo’s Aaron Blake noted yesterday, he has not been especially demonized by conservatives up until now.

My own indifference is probably attributable to the fact that I almost never watch network news, and have certainly never been “influenced” by Brian Williams so far as I can tell.

“Where’s The Moderate Muslim Outrage?”

Fox’s Monica Crowley: “I Haven’t Heard Any Condemnation” Of The Paris Attack From Muslim Groups.While discussing reactions to the Charlie Hebdo attack on the January 7 edition of Fox News’ The Real Story, contributor Monica Crowley argued that Muslims “should be condemning” the attack and that she hadn’t “heard any condemnation.” [Fox News, The Real Story, 1/7/15]

Fox Guest: “You Don’t See Denunciations Of Radical Islam … By Mainstream Islamic Groups.” In a discussion of the Paris attack on the January 7 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, guest Steve Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, claimed that “you don’t see denunciations of radical Islam, by name, by mainstream Islamic groups.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom1/7/15]

Fox Host Bob Beckel: Muslim Groups Like CAIR Keep “Their Mouth Shut When Things Happen.” While discussing the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris during January 7 edition of Fox News’ The Five, host Bob Beckel criticized Howard Dean for suggesting that the terrorists were like a cult, and claimed that Muslims as a whole are “being quiet.” He went on to accuse the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of keeping “their mouth shut when things happen.” [Fox News, The Five, 1/7/15]

Hmmmmm….. let’s help Fox News out, since (apparently) they don’t have investigative reports to uncover… uh, what’s it called… facts.  Here we go:

1. CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations:

We strongly condemn this brutal and cowardly attack and reiterate our repudiation of any such assault on freedom of speech, even speech that mocks faiths and religious figures. The proper response to such attacks on the freedoms we hold dear is not to vilify any faith, but instead to marginalize extremists of all backgrounds who seek to stifle freedom and to create or widen societal divisions.

We offer sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed or injured in this attack. We also call for the swift apprehension of the perpetrators, who should be punished to the full extent of the law.

2. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA Spokesperson Qasim

When we study Islam, we see clearly that the Quran condemns this kind of violence categorically. That Prophet Muhammad said that a Muslim is one from whom all others are safe…. This is not about religion. This is about political power, this is about uneducated, ignorant youth who are being manipulated by clerics and extremists. And this is why it’s all the more important for us, as the moderates, regardless of faith, to stay united and combat this.

3. Muslim Council of Britain: 

The Muslim Council of Britain condemns this attack. Whomever the attackers are, and whatever the cause may be, nothing justifies the taking of life…. Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “Nothing justifies the taking of life. Those who have killed in the name of our religion today claim to be avenging the insults made against Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace. But nothing is more immoral, offensive and insulting against our beloved Prophet than such a callous act of murder.  Our thoughts, prayers and solidarity go to  the families of the victims and the people of France.”

4. French Muslim Council (CFCM)“This extremely grave barbaric action is also an attack against democracy and the freedom of the press.” It also called on “all those committed to the values of the Republic and democracy to avoid provocations that only serve to throw oil on the fire,” and on French Muslims to “exercise the utmost vigilance against possible manipulations from extremist groups.”

5. Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF)“The UOIF condemns in the strongest terms possible these criminal attacks and horrible deaths. The UOIF offers its condolences to the families and all employees of Charlie Hebdo.”

6. Arab League [a regional organization representing 22 Arab countries, all of which have a majority Muslim population]: “Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi strongly condemns the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris.”

7. Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association: “The sanctity of human life is central to our faith. That lives could taken in this manner for any cause is appalling and unjustifiable.”

8. Muslim Advisory Council to the NYPD:

Regardless of motive or rationalization or evidence or excuse, killing twelve innocent people to avenge Prophet Muhammad has no justification and must be condemned without citing any victimhood. At this moment of national grief we ask the French people not to allow this senseless violence perpetrated by three terrorists to put a wedge between peaceful French Muslims and the broader public. We call upon the authorities to swiftly apprehend the perpetrators who should be punished to the full extent of the French law.

9. Birmingham [Alabama] Islamic Society:

This attack in no way represents the teachings of our beloved prophet Muhammad. There are many examples from the life of prophet where he could have responded physically to those who mocked him. On the contrary, he wished them well and prayed for them. Our heart goes out to those who were brutally murdered in this cowardice terrorist attack by the so called defenders of Islam.

10. Dalil Boubakeur, imam at the mosque of Paris: “This is a thunderous declaration of war. The times have changed. We’re entering a new phase of this confrontation… we are horrified by the brutality and the savagery.”

11. Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Drancy mosque in Paris’s Seine-Saint-Denis suburb: “These are criminals, barbarians. They have sold their soul to hell. This is not freedom. This is not Islam and I hope the French will come out united at the end of this.”

12. The Islamic Cooperation Organization (ICO): “OIC hopes that the culprits would soon be apprehended and presented to justice in France, conveying condolences to the families of the victims, the French government and people and wishing the injured quick recovery.”

13. The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM):  

We are absolutely shocked and horrified by what happened. It is an absolute tragedy and it is a crime….We are shaken up by what happened in Paris today. Our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and the injured. We are hoping that whoever did this – the perpetrators of this crime – are quickly brought to justice.

14. Dr. Mohammad Iqbal AlNadvi, chairman of the Canadian Council of Imams. “We denounce [the attacks], and we don’t think it is the right away to express anything… We hope all groups will maintain order and allow proper authorities to deal with it and that no violent action will be taken against Muslims.”

15. Farhan Khokhar, vice president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Canada:

I was literally horrified and shocked. It was beyond disbelief to see such carnage and killing of the innocents…. [O]ur hearts went out to the innocents — people who died and their families… [L]oss of innocent life is always tragic… always brings tears to people’s eyes. Just as you’re starting the New Year, this is not how you want to start the New Year…. [W]e want every perpetrator not only to be caught as quickly as possible, but that the full force of law should be laid against these people. Not only those that perpetrated the act, but people behind them as well, or people who supported them.

16. Muslim Canadian Congress: “MCC condemns barbaric Islamist attack in Paris on Freedom of Expression.”

17. Al-Azhar [a thousand-year-old seat of religious learning respected by Muslims around the world]:  “Islam denounces any violence.”

In addition to organizations, At least 10 Muslim leaders of governments of largely Muslim countries have condemned the attacks.

18. Saudi Arabia: The country expressed “deep sorry” in response to “this cowardly terrorist attack which is incompatible with Islam religion.”

19. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry: “these actions that targets civilians contravene all values and principles, moral and humanitarian.”

20. United Arab Emirates Foreign Ministry: “such appalling criminal acts require cooperation and solidarity at all levels to eradicate this menace.”

21. Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak: “Malaysia condemns in the strongest terms all acts of violence. We stand in unity with the French people. We must fight extremism with moderation.”

22. Morroco’s King Mohammed: [He], ‘‘strongly condemned the odious, cowardly terrorist attack.”

23. Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry:  [Indonesia] “condemns the attack” and “sends condolences to the government and people of France.

24. Egypt’s Foreign Minister: “Egypt stands by France in confronting terrorism, an international phenomenon that targets the world’s security and stability and which requires coordinated international efforts to eradicate.”

25. Turkey’s Foreign Minister: “We, as Turkey, condemn with hatred any kind of terror… We are against any form of terror regardless of where it comes from and what its motives are.”

26. Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry: It expressed its “sympathies and full solidarity with the French government and people in their fight against terrorism,” and urged international cooperation against terrorism so “its shrapnel won’t hit the innocent anywhere else in the world.”

27. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham:

Such actions are a continuation of radical waves and physical aggressions which have spread throughout the world in the past decade, and incorrect policies and double standards in confronting extremism and violence have unfortunately given way to a spreading of such undertakings.

And Muslim individuals took to social media to denounce the violence:

28. Iyad El-Baghdadi 

As a Muslim, killing innocent people in the name of Islam is much, much more offensive to me than any cartoon can ever be. #CharlieHebdo

— Iyad El-Baghdadi (@iyad_elbaghdadi) January 7, 2015

29. Mustafa Akyol 

30.   Sabbiyah Pervez 

31. Ali Gokal

32.  Mirnes Kovac

33. #NotInMyName

34.  Arsh Mirzary

— Arsh Mirza (@ArshMirza2) January 7, 2015

36.   Sarah Mushir

37.  Almis A. Amanry

38.  Memz Dogi

39.   Sheheryar Ahmad

40.  Arbaaz khanar

As a #muslim and #human i condemn the killing of #innocents in#CharlieHebdo attack of paris

41.  Hend

42. Bilal Lashari

43.  Farran Nehmery

44.  Asma

45. Mohammed Al-Binateej

46. Sabina

Whatever Happened To….?

… Sharyl Attkisson?

Remember her? Attkisson left CBS because she "had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network's liberal bias," while some staffers characterized her work as "agenda-driven," leading "network executives to doubt the impartiality of her reporting." Attkisson had supported CBS' disastrous Benghazi reporting, which the network ultimately had to apologize for and retract, and CBSexecutives reportedly saw her as "wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue." She also released an error-ridden report on clean energy, and relied on partial information from House Republicans in a botched story on the Affordable Care Act.  Following her departure from the network, Attkisson attempted to paint herself has a victim of media bias, floating baseless conspiracy theories suggesting Media Matters had been paid to attack her work. Conservative media outlets, particularly Fox News, rallied to Attkisson's defense, with personalities showering praise on her shoddy work and indicating they wanted her to join the conservative network.

Anyway, this unobjective journalist just landed a job at the conservative Heritage Foundation. That's the same Heritage FOundation that the New York Times described as providing "the blueprint for the Republican Party's ideas in Washington."

This Bundy Thing

The story of the Bundy ranch has slowly made its way into mainstream media circles.  It started out on the absolute fringes of the far right, then worked its way to Fox News.  And now, others are picking it up.

It's troubling, not so much for what is actually going on, but because it shows the absolute lack of morality of the right wing — yes, even the "reasonable" right wing, who caters to the fascist right.

For those not in the know, the story isn't complicated.  For 20 years the federal government has fined Cliven Bundy for grazing his cattle on protected federal land. And for 20 years Bundy has refused to pay. Last month this dance came to an end when the Bureau of Land Management sent Bundy a letter informing him that it intended to “impound his trespass cattle” that have been roaming on federal property. It closed off hundreds of thousands of acres, and earlier this month, moved to round up Bundy’s cows.

Protesters challenged the BLM, and Bundy’s son was arrested for “refusing to disperse” from the area in question. Bundy’s cause caught fire on right-wing blogs, egged on by Fox News and conservative outlets like the National Review, which have held the confiscation as a dangerous intrusion on private property rights, despite Bundy’s lawbreaking. Defending his decision, the rancher told one right-wing radio host that he’s ready to take drastic steps beyond refusing to pay:

I told you that I did the legal thing and the political thing and the media thing and it seems like it's down to “we the people” if we're going to get it done. You know the things like militias. You know, I haven't called no militia or anything like that, but hey, it looks like that's where we're at.

To that end, hundreds of people from outside Nevada—including “militia” armed with rifles and ammunition—have joined his protests, going as far as to set up camp and confront federal officials with brandished weapons. The federal government blinked, and the Bureau of Land Management announced an abrupt end to its cattle roundup, hoping to avoid violence and further confrontations.

This story amazes me. 

What we have here is, quite simply, a lawbreaker.  He's also one of the peope who can rightly be called a "taker" in Mitt Romney language — someone who literally lives off the federal government and contributes nothing.

Other ranchers pay their grzaing fees.  What makes Bundy special?

The notion that Fox News and others (Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul) would embrace this guy is scary. Right-wing media ought to be condemned for their role in fanning the flames of this standoff. After years of decrying Obama’s “lawlessness” and hyperventilating over faux scandals, it’s galling to watch conservatives applaudactual lawbreaking and violent threats to federal officials.

And to those who say there isn't racism on the right, does anyone think this would be happening if the ranchers were black?

Anyway, for the crazed nutjobs on the right (some of whom were wishing for a Waco, you can tell), this is only the beginning [AFTERTHOUGHT: I neglected to mention how these guys put women and children up front in the hopes that the U.S. federal government would shoot and kill them].  Let's hope that before they start bombing federal buildings, etc., Fox News and others realize that we are a nation of laws.  Some of which, yes, you might dislike.

Fictitious Journalist Tweets Are Awesome

Seriously, Fox News?

Fox_march

Via Josh Barro. The great thing about this is that the formulation works for anything. “50 years after March on Washington, the bees are dying.” “50 years after March on Washington, some worry about Miley Cyrus’s ‘twerking’.” “”50 years after March on Washington, my sink is leaking.” “50 years after the March on Washington, we still don’t have jetpacks.”

Where’s Cable News?

Today, Obama made a very major environmental speech.  Here are the bullet points:

Curbing carbon pollution

• Directs the EPA to establish carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.

• Promises $8 billion in loan guarantees for fossil fuel projects.

• Directs the Interior Department to permit 10 gigawatts of wind and solar projects on public lands by 2020.

• Expands the president’s Better Building Challenge, helping buildings cut waste to become at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020.

• Sets a goal to reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 through efficiency standards set for appliances and federal buildings.

• Commits to developing fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles.

• Aims to reduce hydrofluorocarbons, highly potent greenhouse gases.

• Directs agencies to develop a comprehensive methane strategy.

• Commits to forests and other landscape protection.

Preparing for climate change

• Directs agencies to support local investment to help vulnerable communities become more resilient to the effects of global warming.

• Establishment of flood-risk reduction standards in the Hurricane Sandy-affected region.

• Will work with the health-care industry to create sustainable, resilient hospitals.

• Distribution of science-based information for farmers, ranchers and landowners.

• Establishment of the National Drought Resilience Partnership to make rangelands less vulnerable to catastrophic fires.

• Climate Data Initiative will provide information for state, local and private-sector leaders.

Leading global efforts to address climate change

• Commits to expanding new and existing initiatives, including those with China, India and other major emitting countries.

• Calls for the end of U.S. government support for public financing of new coal-fired power plants overseas.*

• Expands government capacity for planning and response.

*Except for efficient coal plants in the poorest countries, or for plants using carbon capture.

All of the three major news networks spent mere minutes on the speech — which ran in total 49 minutes.

MSNBC: 41 seconds

FOX News: 4 minutes and 37 seconds

CNN: 8 minutes and 5 seconds

The Weather Channel: 49 minutes

While the lack of coverage is shocking enough, perhaps the most astounding media failure of the day was by FOX News, who broke from Obama’s climate speech to interview climate denier Chris Horner. Horner works for the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, and is largely funded by the oil money, including the Koch Brothers and Exxon-Mobil.

 

Bullshit Indeed

I'm not even going to try to summarize.  Or even copy and paste sections.  Kevin Drum at Mother Jones nails it, starting from the headline:

BS
And Josh Marshal adds:

The standards of most institutional right wing journalism are just so appallingly bad that their stories simply aren't credible. (I'd note that Lake works at either nonpartisan or slightly-progressive leaning pub.) Of course there are exceptions like the Menendez phony escort story. Which, wait, that ended up being a hoax enabled by appalling shoddy reporting standards. Again, if you wonder why conservative scandal mongers can't have nice things … look at the conservative media.

Also, try finding real scandals.

 

This May Be My Favorite News Story Of The Week

Fox News does a segment asking "Where was National Security Advisor Tom Donilon on the night of the Benghazi attacks?", and during most of the segment, they run a picture of the Obama and advisors on that very night, and right in the middle of the picture is… wait for it…. Tom Donilon.

This is a Wonkette must-read, but this picture (from Media Matters) says it all:

Donilon-ff-53013

God-Evoking During Tragedies

Well, this is a refreshing change:

You’d think by now CNN would have learned to stop treating its assumptions as truths. But when Wolf Blitzer made a casual comment Tuesday, it turned out to be a teachable moment both for the newsman and television viewers.

Speaking live to a survivor of the deadly tornado in Moore, Okla., Blitzer declared the woman “blessed,” her husband “blessed,” and her son “blessed.” He then asked, “You’ve gotta thank the Lord, right? Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?”

But as she held her 18-month-old son, Rebecca Vitsmun politely replied, “I’m actually an atheist.” A flummoxed Blitzer quickly lobbed back, “You are. All right. But you made the right call,” and Vitsmun graciously offered him a lifeline. “We are here,” she said, “and I don’t blame anyone for thanking the Lord.” Nicely done, Rebecca Vitsmun.

 

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Internet idiot Aaron Worthing got taken in by this article at The Daily Currant (a satirical web news outlet):

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was denied a second slice of pizza today at an Italian eatery in Brooklyn.

The owners of Collegno's Pizzeria say they refused to serve him more than one piece to protest Bloomberg's proposed soda ban,which would limit the portions of soda sold in the city.

Bloomberg was having an informal working lunch with city comptroller John Liu at the time and was enraged by the embarrassing prohibition. The owners would not relent, however, and the pair were forced to decamp to another restaurant to finish their meal.

Witnesses say the situation unfolded when as the two were looking over budget documents, they realized they needed more food than originally ordered.

"Hey, could I get another pepperoni over here?" Bloomberg asked owner Antonio Benito.

"I'm sorry sir," he replied, "we can't do that. You've reached your personal slice limit."

Stop and Tisk

Mayor Bloomberg, not accustomed to being challenged, assumed that the owner was joking.

"OK, that's funny," he remarked, "because of the soda thing … No come on. I'm not kidding. I haven't eaten all morning, just send over another pepperoni."

"I'm sorry sir. We're serious," Benito insisted. "We've decided that eating more than one piece isn't healthy for you, and so we're forbidding you from doing it."

"Look jackass," Bloomberg retorted, his anger boiling, "I fucking skipped breakfast this morning just so I could eat four slices of your pizza. Don't be a schmuck, just get back to the kitchen and bring out some fucking pizza, okay."

"I'm sorry sir, there's nothing I can do," the owner repeated. "Maybe you could go to several restaurants and get one slice at each. At least that way you're walking. You know, burning calories."

Witnesses say a fuming Bloomberg and a bemused Liu did indeed walk down the street to a rival pizzeria , ordered another slice and finished their meeting.

New York's so-called "soda ban" would have limited the size of sweetened beverages served in restaurants to 16 oz (0.5 liters). The plan, backed by Mayor Bloomberg, is currently being held up by a U.S. district court.

Bloomberg has been the mayor of New York City since 2002. Theretofore he was the CEO of Bloomberg LP, the world's leading financial data firm. His personal fortune is estimated at around $27 billion.

Once he was aware of his stupid error, Worthing amended his post, adding:

Update: Alas, the article is not true. It is satire.  Which makes pretty much everything I wrote below wrong.  Can I plead that nothing in the article suggested it was satire?  Seriously, look at it, do you see any part of it that was implausible? 

What a snork.

First of all, satire isn't usually labelled as such.  As in, "HERE COMES SATIRE… BE FOREWARNED!"  It kind of kills the joke.

Secondly, YES there was plenty in the article that was implausible.

For one thing, does Aaron really think the Mayor of New York takes informal meetings in a pizza place??

In Brooklyn??

And doesn't the verbatim quotes (the exactness and amount of them) suggest that the article is fake?  What witness remembers that much with that much precision.

And Aaron condemned the Mayor's swearing?  Yes, even that was a tip-off that the article was fake.

And finally, all Aaron had to do was glance over at some of the other headlines from the Daily Currant, sitting in the right hand column:

Dailcurrant

He didn't bother to think, because partisan hacks don't.  They just want to make their point, and ding their victim.  Truth?  Facts?  Honesty?  Those are irrelevant.

All hail the "journalist" Aaron Walker.

CNN Really Screwed It Up

Jon Stewart made fun of it.  Now Buzzfeed takes its turn.

I happened to be tuned in to MSNBC, who obviously went on the air with "Breaking News" because CNN had done so.  However, MSNBC didn't have any sources, so its coverage was more cautious to begin with.  From the get-go, they were saying there are only "rumors" and confusion.  Less egg on their face.

Anyway, in case you missed it…

 

UPDATE:  Actually, what the New York Post ran this morning is much worse — a front page photo of two suspects.  Except, they got it wrong.

What Happens When Tea Baggers Boycott Fox News

First of all, some irate Tea Party activists have decided to boycott Fox News because, well, because grumble grumble grnarf gnarf.

No, actually, it is because Fox News hasn't been covering the Benghazi scandal, largely because there is no scandal to cover, as even Fox News has found out.

So, irate teabaggers are boycotting Fox News for going "soft".

The boycott is pretty funny news in and of itself.  But what is even more amusing is how difficult it is for the protesters to ween off Fox:

“I am having withdrawal. I do like Fox News,” said Kevin Avard, a former state lawmaker in New Hampshire who is participating in the boycott. “I have been going to CNN, and to Headline News just to get some kind of fix. I usually probably only watch them once or twice a year.”

Hjerlied said that “if I want news, I go to Breitbart News and Drudge and I can find all the news I need, very quickly,” and after the first boycott, says he may have “kicked the habit” for good.

“I used to have it on all day long, and I probably watched maybe six hours last week,” he said. “The more I looked at it, I have come to the conclusion that Fox is not as fair and balanced as I thought. They shade the truth also.”

You don't say!!!

Donnie Farner, 48, works as a chimney sweep in central Pennsylvania and runs a website, Proud Conservative, which sells right-leaning memorabilia like “Liberals Are Friggin Idiots” T-shirts and bumper stickers that read “Ten Out of Ten Terrorists Recommend Voting Democrat.”

He said staying away from Fox News, and in particular its website, is harder than he realized.

“It is honestly because Fox is everywhere. If you are on Twitter, you click on a link, chances are it might go through Mediaite or Drudge, but it ends up at Fox because Fox originated the story.”

He quickly clicks away, instead relying on Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze to stay informed.

Oh, yes.  That's much better.

And what's a good Teabagger story without a Hitler reference?

“We need Fox to turn right,” said Hjerlied. “We think this is a cover-up and Fox is aiding and abetting it. This is the way Hitler started taking over Germany, by managing and manipulating the news media.”

HITLER!!!

Gee, it must to be hard to be a crazy rightwinger.

A Peak Inside The Right Wing Press

Hagel's nomination for Secretary of Defense have been held up because of, among other things, rumors that he once gave a speech to a controversial group called "Friends of Hamas".

It seems that there is no such group called "Friends of Hamas", but that didn't stop Breitbart.com from pimping the story as if it was true.

Here is a fascinating account of how a made-up hypothetical falls into the hands of faux "journalists" with a right-wing agenda (and no penchant for telling the truth):

Here’s what happened: When rumors swirled that Hagel received speaking fees from controversial organizations, I attempted to check them out.

On Feb. 6, I called a Republican aide on Capitol Hill with a question: Did Hagel’s Senate critics know of controversial groups that he had addressed?

Hagel was in hot water for alleged hostility to Israel. So, I asked my source, had Hagel given a speech to, say, the “Junior League of Hezbollah, in France”? And: What about “Friends of Hamas”?

The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically. No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed — let alone that a former senator would speak to them.

Or so I thought.

The aide promised to get back to me. I followed up with an e-mail, as a reminder: “Did he get $25K speaking fee from Friends of Hamas?” I asked.

The source never responded, and I moved on.

I couldn’t have imagined what would happen next. On Feb. 7, the conservative web site Breitbart.com screamed this headline:

“SECRET HAGEL DONOR?: WHITE HOUSE SPOX DUCKS QUESTION ON ‘FRIENDS OF HAMAS’”

The story read: “On Thursday, Senate sources told Breitbart News exclusively that they have been informed one of the reasons that President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has not turned over requested documents on his sources of foreign funding is that one of the names listed is a group purportedly called ‘Friends of Hamas.’”

The author, Ben Shapiro, wrote that a White House spokesman hung up on him when he called for comment. That went in the story — to buttress the assertion that the White House didn’t deny the claim.

Shapiro tweeted the link to his nearly 40,000 Twitter followers. Blogs like RedState.com and the National Review’s The Corner linked to it. In Israel, Mike Huckabee said “rumors of Chuck Hagel’s having received funds from Friends of Hamas,” would, if true, “disqualify him.”

Somehow, I was not aware of the firestorm until Sunday, when I glanced at my phone and saw a Slate.com story raising big doubts whether “Friends of Hamas” even exists.

On Monday, I reached my source. The person denied sharing my query with Breitbart but admitted the chance of having mentioned it to others. Since the source knew we spoke under a standard that my questions weren’t for sharing, that’s a problem.

But there was another fail-safe. Since the “Friends of Hamas” speech was imaginary, it was not like another reporter could confirm it, right?

Not quite. Reached Tuesday, Shapiro acknowledged “Friends of Hamas” might not exist. But he said his story used “very, very specific language” to avoid flatly claiming it did.

“The story as reported is correct. Whether the information I was given by the source is correct I am not sure,” he said.

I am, it seems, the creator of the Friends of Hamas myth. Doing my job, I erred in counting on confidentiality and the understanding that my example was farcical — and by assuming no one would print an unchecked rumor.

But of course, they did print the unchecked rumor, while trying to hide the fact that is was just a rumor.

Never trust content from right wing sources.

Fox Says Bye To Dick

And I love Erik Wemple's editorial on it:

No more Fox News contributor Dick Morris. His contract to spout republic-damaging nonsense on Fox airwaves has expired, and the network isn’t renewing it.

Taken together with the news that Sarah Palin will no longer be contributing, the Morris development is strong evidence that Fox News has glimpsed the underside of allowing charlatans to brand its coverage. Palin was a roboto-contributor, who responded to everything with a little crack on the lamestream media and a reference President Obama’s socialist heart.

As for Morris’s misdeeds, well, everyone knows what they are. That’s because Fox News presented them so prominently in the run-up to last year’s presidential election. In his prime-time, pre-election appearances, Morris was among the few pundits who wouldn’t hedge his bets; who wouldn’t triangulate his way through the polling numbers; who wouldn’t rummage through scenario after scenario in his analysis.

No, Dick Morris was predicting a Mitt Romney landslide. Fox News fell for it, and surely millions of Americans did as well. After all, in the same breath that he was predicting landslides, he was citing his own expertise:

It’s not a question of being smarter than anybody else. It’s that I’ve done this for a living and there are very few people on television who talk about politics who’ve ever made a living doing it, and most of them are partisan and echoing a point of view, but when you get down to it, a guy like Karl Rove or Pat Caddell or me or even Joe Trippi, we make a living doing this and I’ve made a living doing it for 40 years.

Vast arrogance and loose, poorly substantiated facts: a great combination for a cable-news contributor in these modern times.

Indeed.

Steve Benen and others are sharing Dick Morris stories:

I imagine everyone has their favorite Dick Morris story. My personal favorite was in September 2011 when he made a lengthy argument built around a single observation: the economy lost 30,000 health care jobs in the month of August 2011. There was, however, a small problem: the economy actuallygained 30,000 health care jobs in August. Morris' entire indictment was based on numbers he misunderstood.

Daily Show: No Investigative Journalism Anymore

A great Daily Show segment from last night, when John Oliver learns that CNN has closed down its investigative journalism department.  Where does one of its investigative journalists go?  To HBO's The Newsroom.  Will McAvoy makes an appearance.

 

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Investigating Investigative Journalism
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

 

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

So then Fox put up this chyron:

Fiatstupid

Apparently, the brainiacs at Fox think that a nickel coin actually contains a five cents worth of the element nickel.  Maybe they also think that a $20 bill is 20 times bigger than a $1 bill.

Idiots.