Fox Haters Year in Review!
Oh Say Can You See Smears of Fox on MSNBC?The MSNBC jihad against Fox News continued apace in 2010. Who can forget Ed Schultz permitting Bill Press to spew one lie after another about FNC? Or the ridiculous claims of Howard Dean regarding the Shirley Sherrod matter (more on that below)? One of their newest hires, Cenk Uygur, certainly has the Fox hater credentials that the channel seems to prize. And as a bonus, he has the same disregard for truth, joining with dozens of others in spreading the fabricated claim that Fox News was funding the Park 51 mosque. Uygur has already demonstrated his analytical skills. Here he is opining on future ratings for The O’Reilly Factor:
Only that’s Cenk Uygur from 2006. In truth, four years later O’Reilly’s audience is bigger, not smaller. The Factor is still the most-watched (by far) cable news program in the 25-54 demo, only now by a margin 50% greater than in 2006.
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.
You know who else was singing Cenk’s song? Keith Olbermann:
Yes, an Olbermann insight from 2006. And just about as accurate and honest as the ones from 2010. Olbermann lied about a Fox video clip, its Haiti coverage, Brian Kilmeade...well, you get the idea. Olby’s smear of Neil Cavuto was what he might call Breitbartian, and then there’s the time he lied about his own network to smear Glenn Beck’s rally.
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.
When Rachel Maddow made the bizarre claim that Fox News ‘never criticized’ George Bush for anything, we responded with the facts. When MSNBC honcho Phil Griffin dinged FNC for ‘fund-raising’ on air, he issued a challenge: ‘Show me an example of us fund-raising’. We did, in spades. And when Maddow furthered the charge and insisted MSNBC was superior to Fox because they would never allow fund-raising on MSNBC air, we answered that too. And this video went viral:
Around the InterwebsOn the internet, Fox haters sprout up like dandelions. We honestly could not keep track of them all, but we tried to hit the high, or low, notes. Smears abounded: Think Progress on Juan Williams, Dave Weigel on Megyn Kelly, News Corpse on your humble correspondent. Trig-truther Andrew Sullivan insisted that Fox News refused to label the murder of Dr Tiller an act of domestic terrorism--another phony fabrication. Meanwhile oreillysucks.com continued to be a horn-of-plenty, repeatedly plagiarizing other people’s writing, while what they didn’t plagiarize was packed full of one fabrication after another. As Chris Golas notes, their posts are growing increasingly moronic.
One fellow is starting to make a name for himself: David Neiwert from the aptly named Crooks & Liars. Mr Neiwert was on our radar in 2010 for a delightful series of slanders that showcased his ability to make things up out of thin air. Example, all the Fox News analysts were ‘sturdily defending the (Arizona immigration) bill’ the day it was signed. Oops, that wasn’t true. How about Jon Scott and Megyn Kelly who, according to Dave, were insisting that Andrew Stack’s plane attack was not domestic terrorism? Except, um, they said it was. Neiwert again used his imagination to dream up another claim:
You can see for yourself just how big a lie that was.
Every Republican candidate on the planet -- with the exception of the truly execrable Dan Maes in Colorado -- has gotten lots of free airtime on Fox to promote their campaign. Their opponents -- not at all.
The House of HoundsThe past year brought us more of the same from the newshounds, who exemplify the saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. One of their favorites is cherry-picking: how dare Fox interview person A--that’s one-sided! While leaving out the fact that Fox also interviewed person B, who gave the opposing point of view. They’ve pulled this trick repeatedly: regarding the Park 51 mosque, the Arizona immigration law, public prayer, etc. it’s sleazy, shoddy, and more transparent than cellophane. But it’s what passes for serious thought at the kennel.
Their attempts at ‘fact-checking’ range from laughably incompetent (the Black Panthers case) to embarrassingly stupid (Cardinal Law). When you have Ellen Brodsky criticizing Fox for not interrogating a video tape, you know they’ve gone off the deep end. From suggesting that Fox didn’t cover Marco Rubio’s opposition to the AZ immigration law (another fabrication), to egregious quote-cropping to slander Juan Williams, to the disgusting (and utterly false) claim that FNC was promoting the Koran burner, there is no smear too low for the mongrels. Where else can one find fantasizing over Glenn Beck committing suicide presented as ‘media criticsm’? Or for that matter, attacking Jewish demonstrators as ‘ugly bigots’?
Some of the bilge belched up by the bowsers is so fatuous that the only explanation is that they’re writing about things they haven’t even watched. We’ve caught Priscilla doing that, and what else would explain Ellen Brodsky describing Juan Williams delivering a nonexistent Talking Points Memo? Or Brodsky’s claim that Fox was systematically ‘editing out’ an apology made by Rep Barton (R), a claim lifted from Daily Kos (who really deserve a spot all their own in this 2010 recap) and utterly disproved by our video. Sort of like Ellen’s allegation that FNC was trying to cover up safety violations in the Massey mine. Another Hound Lie? Once again, the tail-waggers were stung by the bumblebee of truth:
Fear not; there will be more fabrications, dishonesty, and rampant hypocrisy from the biased bassets through the new year. We just spotted an example of what we have to look forward to: Ellen Brodsky (natch!) whining that a weather report on tornadoes didn’t mention ‘the possibility that climate change might be a factor’. Has Brodsky forgotten this?
Who said that? Why, Ellen Brodsky of course! By the by, who was responsible for the weather report that Brodsky found so objectionable? Janice Dean? Rick Reichmuth? Actually, the report wasn’t done by anyone at Fox. It was from AccuWeather, which also supplies reports to CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC!
Climate scientists rejected the theory that short term changes in weather bear any relevance to climate science.
Mendacity MattersOur quest for the biggest lie of 2010 brings us to David Brock’s Media Matters. They had their fingers in so many pies this year. They used a phony story about mobile video games to claim Rupert Murdoch was funding the Kim Jong-Il regime. They piled on in the Think Progress Juan Williams smear. You’d think they’d be smart enough not to lie about something seen by millions of people, but they did just that, claiming that FNC cut away from an Obama statement when in fact they aired the entire thing, live. Like most Media Matters smears, it remains uncorrected.
When Robert Gibbs criticized a statement made by Michael Brown to Neil Cavuto, Media Matters eagerly posted a clip. Only guess what? No such statement was made, and Neil Cavuto said so. Media Matters promptly published an embarrassingly lame attempt to contort what Brown did say into what Gibbs claimed (they weren’t even close). O’Reilly jumped in and MM posted an answer to that too! By this time Brock’s brigade had twisted themselves into pretzels to attack Fox and defend Gibbs. But then someone stuck a pin in their balloon. Gibbs revealed he wasn’t talking about Brown on Cavuto at all. He was talking about an entirely different program! All that desperate spinning from Media Matters, and all the time they had the wrong target! You can read the entire epic story (which also involves our pal Brodsky) here.
And then there’s Eric Boehlert, ‘Senior Fellow’ at Media Matters. He’s the one who challenged readers to come up with a clip of O’Reilly criticizing a guest for being too Republican. We did (the clip came from Boehlert’s own website: Media Matters!). In the process Eric furthered another one of his trademark lies:
Uh huh. The video we put together shows some of the debates from a single day on FNC, the day before Boehlert claimed they never happened:
MSNBC regularly features open debate, whereas Fox News does not.
But what is The Lie of the Year? Chris Golas makes an excellent case for another lunatic Eric Boehlert claim: that interviewing a candidate means you’re contributing to his campaign. But we have a different nomination in mind: the campaign of falsehoods regarding Shirley Sherrod and Fox News. Media Matters may not have started it, but they joined a slew of Fox haters in promoting it. And when we exposed the falsehoods, none other than Eric Boehlert jumped in, claiming that foxnews.com had been pushing the Sherrod story before she was fired. Unfortunately for Mr Boehlert, that was not true. As was first reported here, the foxnews.com article cited by Boehlert and Media Matters was published at 6:00 pm--long after Sherrod had already been fired. Though Boehlert continued to spin, our information was subsequently confirmed by other sources, including Politico.
And consider this additional fact. Media Matters put up its own ‘chronology’ of Shirley Sherrod coverage, claiming that the foxnews.com article appeared online between 11:18 am and 12:13 pm. We know that is false, as it wasn’t published until after Sherrod was fired. Yet today--five months later--MM is still lying to its readers. Their chronology still places the foxnews.com story between 11:18 am and 12:13 pm. A falsehood this widespread, that stands uncorrected after all this time, is our choice for Lie of the Year.
Postscript: September SongThis isn’t the lie of the year, or the week. Technically it may not be a lie at all. But it stuck in our craw, and so a few words about politics over people.
On behalf of the 9/11 responders, Fox legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr delivered an eloquent commentary about their plight, and why they need assistance for the illnesses and diseases that can cut their lives short. The response from Media Matters? Whine about the ‘smooth jazz’ background and complain that Johnson didn’t attack Republicans enough. Why? Because in the MM world, where you’re ‘biased’ if you don’t use a phrase poll-tested by Democrats (‘public option’), it’s all about the politics. Never mind the responders, it’s about attacking the other side, and Fox, for not making everything a polemic. Politics over people.
Every commentary doesn’t have to be a political battle cry. Sometimes it’s more important to tell a personal story than raise a partisan flag. And never mind that Mr Johnson has addressed the political side of the issue as well. It’s just attack, smear, and damn the consequences. It apparently never occurred to the geniuses at Media Matters that Mr Johnson might have had a greater purpose in this commentary than pointing fingers at politicians. That perhaps he was trying to make a more universal point.
Maybe it has something to do with that ‘smooth jazz’, or as the ignoramuses who parroted MM’s post called it, ‘strange music’. It may mean nothing to these Einsteins, but others will recognize a classic that has been performed by everyone from Sinatra to ELO, from Ella Fitzgerald to Willie Nelson. Named one of the 25 greatest songs about mortality, its memorable blending of poetry and music has been called one of the greatest lyrics of all time. Mr Johnson quotes those lyrics, and even the song title, in his commentary, and yet the best the clueless Fox haters can come up with is ‘strange music’.
Mr Johnson patterned his commentary after a song about universal truths, things we will all face, regardless of party. You won’t find any stanzas about Democrats or Republicans in this song, and it doesn’t surprise us that Mr Johnson didn’t cheapen his presentation or sully the meaning of the very personal story he was telling. People over politics.
As we offer our best 2011 wishes, here is something for the people who think this song is strange music, and for the million-dollar Media Matters mavens who ignorantly dismiss it. We invite you to listen to September Song: