Fox Haters Week in Review!

So who are we going after this time? Media Matters, Cenk Uygur, Keith Olbermann, assorted internet crazies, and of course the dog pound. It's today's rip-roaring installment of Fox Haters Week in Review!

Mendacity Matters

Meet Karl Frisch. He is a contributor to Media Matters, and occasionally bangs out articles for the Huffington Post. He is on our radar for his latest HuffPo masterpiece. In it, he makes a pretense of adopting concern for the ‘LGBT employees’ of Fox News, and how badly they must feel. Because FNC has just been hammering the California Prop 8 decision. Frisch writes: hosted a post on the Fox Forum by Gerard V. Bradley argued [sic] that Walker should have recused himself from the Prop. 8 case because Walker is a gay man.

Really? This would be the column in which Gerald Bradley wrote:

Nor is the neglected bias related to the fact that (as several newspapers have reported) the judge is openly gay. Of course, Walker’s opinions about marriage and sexual preference could be related to his own homosexuality. But even if they are, it does not follow that he would be incapable of being impartial and of rendering a judgment in accord with the law in the Prop. 8 case – any more than a happily married heterosexual would necessarily be.

Hmm. That doesn’t sound like what Frisch said. It turns out Notre Dame Law Professor Bradley was making a more nuanced argument. But Frisch would have to read the column to know that. Did he read it and purposely misrepresent it? Or did he just parrot someone’s talking points? (One could ask the same question of Mediaite.) did not note that Walker was nominated as a federal judge by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

It was Bush 41 who appointed Judge Walker to the bench, and Frisch’s authority (Media Matters of course) cites an August 4 article on that didn’t mention Bush’s role. But apparently nobody bothered to read to the bottom of the page. That’s where it’s revealed that the article was sourced from...the Associated Press! That dastardly wire service cleverly omitted any mention of Bush’s appointment! As is typical of AP reports, you’ll find similar articles at thousands of websites. Ergo there’s no mention of Bush’s appointment in articles at,,, The Progressive Rambler, Minnesota Public Radio...well, you get the idea. Yet for some reason only is singled out. How odd.

To be fair, it is possible that many of these other websites posted follow-up articles that did mention Bush’s role in appointing the judge. Yeah, did Fox! Oh wait, we can’t expect Mr Frisch to know about that. It was only online for two days before Frisch published his column. And besides, Media Matters didn’t report on it, so how could Karl have possibly known? Mr Frisch continues:

But in reports on Judge Susan Bolton's decision to block portions of the Arizona immigration law, [] did note that President Clinton nominated Bolton.

You’re probably way ahead of us on this one, but yeah, as the bottom of the page makes clear, this 7/28 piece is another article sourced from the AP. The language Frisch and Media Matters find so objectionable:

The volume of the protests will likely be turned down a few notches because of the ruling by Bolton, a Clinton appointee who suddenly became a crucial figure in the immigration debate when she was assigned the seven lawsuits filed against the Arizona law.

Because it’s from AP, this language turns up on thousands of websites. Like the Houston Chronicle,, The Indianapolis Star, Progressive Blue, etc. You’ll even find the Clinton reference at that bastion of conservative opinion, Once again, Fox is singled out; thousands of others get a pass.

Note: Mr Frisch obsesses on one article sourced from AP that notes the Clinton appointment, but ignores several other pieces, like this, this, this, and this. What are those? Other reports from 7/28 and 7/29 that don’t mention Clinton at all! The Associated Press leaves Bush out of one story, includes Clinton in another, and who gets blamed? Fox News! Man, this is some fine reporting from Karl Frisch. At this rate, he’ll graduate from a Media Matters contributor to a ‘Senior Fellow’ in no time at all.

Around the Interwebs

Chico Brisbane has tumbled to one of the great undiscovered conspiracies. It seems that Fox keeps an eye on obscure bloggers, and ‘discredits’ them by reports? It’s a bit complicated: Brisbane & Co did a post claiming that Glenn Beck sells t-shirts made in Bangladesh. But then the eeevil Fox retaliated, cleverly disguising their attack on Chico Brisbane as a news story, and sneakily waiting seven days before posting it. But that didn’t fool Chico, no siree. He headlined his exposé ’Why Fox News Discredits Bloggers, Even the Little Ones’:

I find it curious that a few days later on July 29, 2010 that Fox News Posted a story at FoxNews.Com titled: "Bangladesh Raises Garment Worker Wages 80 Percent" - Really?... I discovered the Fox.Com post a few spaces below mine on Google. Could it be purely coincidental? - Sure, anything is possible. But if not, it means that even a giant like Fox News has more than just their cable news counterparts to worry about. It also means that their motives to discredit bloggers are self-serving and that you don't have to be HuffPo, Daily Kos, or ThinkProgress to get stuck in Fox News' craw.

The whole truth is even more shocking than Chico realizes. Because if one checks the story, it turns out it wasn’t written by Fox at all. No, it’s from the Associated Press. Which means that Murdoch got to them and forced them to write this story. And it doesn’t end there either. The evil tentacles of News Corp made tens of thousands of other websites print the story too. Yes, they’re all in it together. Chico Brisbane must be destroyed! They’re coming! They’re coming!

Conducive Chronicle uncovered a little-known fact about how Fox News covered the BP oil spill:

At no point during the catastrophe did any of Fox’s slick commentators remind us of Sarah Palin’s campaign cry to “Drill, baby, drill.”

Here’s Fox commentator Juan Williams:

And the right, you can charge with hypocrisy. Oh, you guys were all for drill, baby, drill at one time. Now you've got this spill.

Fox’s Stephen Hayes:

You'd have [the President] talking about the consequences of drill, baby, drill, that Republicans have made arguments for, for years.

Christian Dorsey:

Instead of "Drill Baby Drill" maybe a better slogan is "Drills Cause Spills." This is something we really need to take care of.

Oh, and how about not just reminding people of Palin’s campaign cry, but reminding Palin herself of it? Chris Wallace:

Millions of gallons of oil are continuing to spill into the Gulf of Mexico. You, of course, are a big supporter of offshore drilling. You popularized the phrase "drill, baby, drill." Does this disaster give you any pause, Governor?

One Horace Mungin has invented his own nickname for FNC:

I like to call FOX News “White Fox” because of the restricted color of its on camera mannequins and the hand puppets who watch them.

Such creativity. Such imagination. Mungin goes on to explain to the uninformed rabble what caused the rise of FNC:

Deregulation of the broadcast media is what has brought us to this point. The Federal Communications Commission was formed in the 1930s to regulate broadcast stations as public trustees of the airwaves and to maintain the Fairness Doctrine. In 1981, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill to deregulate the broadcast industry.

Um Horace, you are aware that Fox News Channel is not broadcast media, right? It’s a cable channel, and the 1981 deregulation dealt with broadcast stations. Sheesh.

Finally, a visit to the asylum for another brilliant insight from This time Mr Bill has gone too far! He did a report on Maxine Waters and Charles Rangel. And that’s just wrong:

O'Reilly is jumping the gun and reporting on the story before they are found guilty.

Riiight. Nobody else is reporting the story--they’re all keeping it secret until someone is found guilty. If we had a ‘dumbest thing of the week’ award, this would be a contender.

Do the Math

It’s kind of an oxymoron--Fox haters insist that ratings don’t matter, but will chortle if FNC’s Nielsens are down a tenth of a point, or they’ll concoct some convoluted explanation why winning numbers are somehow bad for Fox. One popular line of attack is to assert that Bill O’Reilly’s audience is so elderly they have one foot in the grave:

It’s slipping away from you. You don’t know what to do. You can’t even lie well any more. Seriously: I understand. It’s called panic. You begin to see the audience dying off, and the creases deepening in your forehead.

Another example:

I don't have anything against old people, really old people, but it's hard to say that O'Reilly's audience is the future. Half of them would be lucky to make it past the decade.... It's not hard to see why O'Reilly is losing viewers. They're not dying to watch him, they're dying while watching him.... Let's get real, O'Reilly's audience has fallen and they can't get up.

Things look bad for Mr Bill. FYI, the first quote is from none other than Keith Olbermann; the second from Cenk Uygur (whom we last met when he insisted that Shirley Sherrod was fired because Fox News demanded it). Uygur backs up his ratings claim with a ‘statistic’: the average age of O’Reilly’s audience is 71. Unfortunately, Nielsen doesn’t provide such statistics, and it turns out the number actually comes from some PR guy at MSNBC! Oh well, that’s good enough for Uygur!

Still, despite phony stats, they could be spot on. These predictions were made in July, so if we wait a few years, Olby and Uygur may turn out to have been right. Actually, we don’t have to wait; the statements are from July of 2006. And the results are already in.

In July of 2006 The O’Reilly Factor had 2,119,000 viewers at 8:00 pm, a total of 3,200,000 when the west coast repeat is added in. But how low have his numbers gone after four years of his audience ‘dying off’? July 2010: O’Reilly now has 2,952,000 viewers at 8:00 pm, and 4,309,000 (nearly a 33% increase) for the two showings combined. What? How can that be? How can O’Reilly have huge gains in viewership when the esteemed ‘young turk’ said half his audience would likely be dead by now?

Well, maybe they were talking about the key demo, the younger viewers who matter most to advertisers. That is a statistic that Nielsen does provide. Back in 2006 O’Reilly was flying high. His 488,000 demo viewers at 8:00 pm made his the most watched program in the key 25-54 demographic. Factor in the repeat and the number jumps to a commanding 839,000. But now we’ve had four years of O’Reilly ‘losing viewers’ because ‘they’re dying’. So here’s July 2010: 727,000 viewers aged 25-54, and the most watched program in the demo by an even larger margin than in 2006 (nearly a 50% increase). Toss in the second airing and the key demo viewership surges to 1,191,000. (Don’t tell any of this to Cenk Uygur. He’s still pushing that phony MSNBC-created ‘average age of 71’ statistic, even though it’s now four years old!)

For their astonishing ability to forecast the future, congrats to Swami Keith and Swami Cenk. Keep up the good work.

Do Hounds Like Cherries?

Things don’t always work out as planned over at the newshounds either. Every once in a while Ellen Brodsky decides to flex her muscles and throw the inestimable power and influence of the newspoodles behind a cause. Their huge readership enthusiastically joins the fray, and the incredible might of the dog pound scores a smashing victory for the cause of Fox haters everywhere. To wit:

Just say NO to propaganda! Tell the White House Correspondents Association: NPR deserves to be in the front row...

Uh oh, the WHCA didn’t agree.

...FOX does not. Sign the petition to the White House Correspondents Association.

Hmm, NPR in the second row, FNC in the front...looks like Brodsky is 0 for 2. And the WHCA vote was unanimous. Strangely, Ellen has yet to post about the decision. But hey, it was a week ago. Maybe she’s still ‘analyzing’ the vote.

Selectivity is the hallmark of the newsmutts. It’s the same methodology as the infamous Breitbart tape, only painted on a larger canvas. Cherry-pick segments that make FNC look one-sided, bury segments that go the other way. Play it up big when Bill O’Reilly does an interview with mosque opponent Pam Geller, toss in some name-calling and character assassination, and--presto!--another Brodsky special. But ignore Bill’s discussion with proponent Nihad Awad, which came just one day earlier, and led to the Geller interview. Indeed, on the night of the Geller interview, O’Reilly also did segments with Marc Lamont Hill and ACLU supporter Scott Fenstermaker. Not a peep about them from Brodsky.

Now maybe this is all coincidence, yet it keeps happening. ‘Priscilla’ attacks Martha MacCallum for doing an interview with conservative lawyer/talk show host Hugh Hewitt:

“America Live” is supposed to be a “fair & balanced” news show. But if that’s true, then how can we account for today’s kvetching between Fox’s Martha MacCallum (filling in for Megyn Kelly) and right wing writer and radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, during which they got all a twitter about those nasty, bad libruls who are just so out of touch with America.

This is extraordinary, because not only did MacCallum follow this up--on the same program--by interviewing progressive lawyer/talk show host Mark Levine, she promoted it on air while talking to Hewitt! So it’s not like Prissy didn’t know about it. But it would spoil things if Prissy’s readers knew MacCallum interviewed both Hewitt and Levine, so...sorry Mark, you’ve been erased.

Like Brodsky, ‘Priscilla’ is not one to shine a spotlight on her miscalculations. On Wednesday, the day of the Prop 8 decision, she wondered how FNC would cover the story:

One wonders how they will treat this issue in the following days. Will they interview the usual suspects from “Christian” legal groups like the “Alliance Defense Fund,” to opine on how this is an attack on sacred, biblical marriage? Or will they smear the judge?

Funny thing, Thursday came and went, Friday came and went, and nothing from ‘Priscilla’ about Fox’s coverage. It’s not like she didn’t have enough to pick from. What about Bill O’Reilly’s ‘thorough’ analysis of the issue the next day? Hmm. we don’t see any ‘usual suspects’ from those dastardly ‘Christian’ groups there. Or Judge Napolitano’s take on the decision? Does that sound like he’s ‘smearing the judge’? It sounds more like he’s predicting that the decision will be upheld by the Supreme Court! Funny that after making a dramatic point about it, ‘Priscilla’ made no posts about these segments, or any FNC coverage of the decision over two full days. These hounds must love cherries; they sure do pick a lot of them.

By the way, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Prissy’s parroting of the smear noted above from Mr Frisch. Like Karl, ‘Priscilla’ cites the same opinion piece, and like Karl she falsely claims the author cited the judge being gay as an issue affecting his fitness to preside. In fact, Prissy snipped out the key paragraph where the author specifically states that’s not his argument:

It does not follow that he would be incapable of being impartial and of rendering a judgment in accord with the law in the Prop. 8 case – any more than a happily married heterosexual would necessarily be.

Prissy’s quote conflates two separate arguments via an especially egregious use of the infamous three dots--in this case snipping out eight paragraphs of text! How very Breitbartian of her.

Of course ‘Priscilla’ wouldn’t be ‘Priscilla’ without her old stand-by: the personal attack. This time the arrow is aimed at Martha MacCallum:

As a feminist, I’m loathe to use the sexist term “dumb blonde” but if there was ever a stereotype, Martha does seem to fit the bill!

Now that’s classy. For the record, a few facts about Ms MacCallum:

  • Business correspondent and anchor at Wall Street Journal Television.
  • Graduate of St Lawrence University, Anchor at CNBC.
  • Contributor to The News with Brian Williams and The Today Show.
  • Twice recipient of the American Women in Radio and Television Award.

Now let’s contrast that with the qualifications and resumé of newshound ‘Priscilla’:

Oh that’s right. Prissy keeps her identity, background, and qualifications (if any) secret. She must be quite proud of them. Still, there are clues. On the day of the Prop 8 Decision, ‘Priscilla’ explained, in her own inimitable style, why Fox News wouldn’t even mention the decision that night:

We don’t know how the nightly “opinion” journalists will treat it as their shows were probably filmed before the decision was rendered.

Surprise, Prissy was utterly wrong. The decision was addressed on The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, and On the Record. All three of them. But wait...’filmed’? ‘Filmed?!?’ Is ‘Priscilla’ having flashbacks to the 60s? Newsgathering on film went out decades ago. The idea that entire primetime news programs in 2010 would be ‘filmed’ is deliriously dopey.

But whether it’s film, tape, or direct-to-digital recording (note to Prissy: the current standard), we have to ask what in the wide world of sports was ‘Priscilla’ talking about? O’Reilly tapes The Factor a few hours ahead, but aren’t Sean Hannity and Greta van Susteren on the set, live, as they do their programs? Doesn’t Greta do a live internet broadcast that precedes her live 10:00 hour? Why should we have to explain this to Prissy? There’s a fracking “LIVE” bug plastered on the screen during these programs! Do you think that might have been the first clue? Hello? Priscilla? Did you say something about a ‘dumb blonde’?

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