Debate and Switch

What do MyDD, Daily Kos, and the San Francisco Chronicle have in common? They're all involved in The Lie of the Week.

The Fox haters' echo chamber is reverberating like crazy. They've got a new bee in their bonnet: Freeze Out Fox News! The Nevada Democratic Party has had the affrontery to cosponsor a Presidential debate with the eeevil FNC, and the haters will have none of it. The anti-Fox warriors always find it necessary to embroider the truth (what's left of it) with a tapestry of tall tales, stories that the gullible swallow uncritically in the blink of an eye. The lies in this case seek to use Fox's sponsorship of a September 2003 debate as evidence of their misdeeds. We traced this one back to two blue blogs: Daily Kos and MyDD. The perpetrator appears to be one Chris Bowers, who sets the stage by describing the 2003 debate:
Controversial questions included the accusation that Howard Dean had a racist gun policy by Fox News analyst Juan Williams.

The source for this claim is...the transcript? Um, no. The source is an online petition that, just by coincidence, Bowers is promoting! The actual transcript doesn't exactly resound with "accusations" of racism:
WILLIAMS: Ambassador Braun, Governor Dean has suggested that states like Vermont, Montana and Wyoming with overwhelmingly white populations really don't need gun control, in part because of their rural character. But urban areas, such as Baltimore, Maryland, with large minority populations do need gun control. Do you agree?

But wait, there's more. Bowers, not content with mere misrepresentation, takes things to the next level:
Four years ago, in typically unfiltered fashion, Fox cut away from the Democratic debate they hosted a couple of minutes before it ended, in order to give arch-conservative William Bennett the first shot at post-debate spin.

It took only moments for this tale to reverberate through the echo chamber: AmericaBlog, Hullabaloo, and even the High Priest Daily Kos himself. What's more, Bowers's sidekick even got this story into the San Francisco Chronicle:
When Fox broadcast a Democratic candidate debate in September 2003, [Matt] Stoller noted that the network's post-debate story was headlined, "Democratic Candidates Offer Grim View of America." It cut away early from the show, Stoller said, giving conservative pundit William Bennett first crack at post-debate analysis.

Only it's not true. Chris Bowers is lying. Matt Stoller is lying. Exhibit A is the Lexis/Nexis transcript for the Fox News broadcast of this debate. The debate that was cut off "early" so William Bennett would have "first crack" at analysis. Let's pick it up with the closing statements of the participants:
HUME: I'm sorry. We have to go to closing statements now. Time presses on us. And we begin closing statements. We hope to confine them to 45 seconds if possible. With Carol Moseley Braun, please.

At this point, statements from Braun, Sharpton, Edwards, Kerry, Dean, Lieberman, Kucinich, Gephardt, and Graham were given. The Lexis/Nexis transcript of the coverage then continued...
HUME: Thank you, Senator.
And that concludes our debate. We would like to thank the candidates for their time, the staff of Morgan State University, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, and of course, our audience here in Baltimore and at home. Our next debate will be Sunday, October 26th in Detroit.
Stay tuned in the meantime for more debate coverage on Fox News Channel.
I'm Brit Hume. For our panel of journalists and for all of us at Fox News, good night.

Did Fox switch away from the debate before it was over? No. Where did Bowers & Co get that idea? They made it up! And what about the claim that Fox switched from the debate to give Bill Bennett "first crack" at analysis? The debate lasted 90 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of analysis. The transcript shows the analysis segment, hosted by Tony Snow, offered commentary by:
  • CECI CONNOLLY (Washington Post)
  • MORT KONDRACKE (Roll Call)
  • FRED BARNES (Weekly Standard)
  • CARL CAMERON (Fox News)
  • BRIT HUME (Fox News)

Where was William Bennett? Nowhere! He wasn't even on during the post-debate analysis program! That was another lie. But wait, there's more.

Back to Lexis/Nexis. William Bennett does show up...with Hannity & Colmes. Aha! So they gave him "first crack" at analysis. Well, no. H&C began by interviewing Al Sharpton. Then Bennett came on? Um, no, then they discussed the debate with a member of the black caucus from Alabama. Only after that did William Bennett appear, an hour after the debate ended, after at least ten other people commented on it before him. That's what Stoller and Bowers call giving Bennett "first crack" at analysis. Another lie.

These reckless fabulists go on to make the claim that the banner over the stage (approved by the Black Caucus) and the onscreen graphics read "Democrat Candidate Presidential Debate," a misconstruction of "Democratic". They provide no evidence, no screen grab. Never mind that the transcript reveals not one use of "Democrat" in that context: it's always "Democratic". Never mind that they cite not one contemporaneous writing that points out this faux pas. (Certainly this one didn't.) But Stoller and Bowers have already been exposed as frauds and liars. So nothing they say can be trusted, and everything they write should be presumed unreliable, unless proven otherwise.

Stoller, Bowers, Kos, and the rest of their crowd made up a fabrication about Fox News and in just a few days got it into a major newspaper. The Fox haters' echo chamber performed at peak efficiency. Clearly there can be no other choice for The Lie of the Week.

posted: Sat - February 24, 2007 at 10:38 PM       j$p  send 

Effrontery, with an E.
February 25, 2007, 12:21:10 AM EST – Like – Reply

Excellent dissection of the nutroot hysteria peaking over Foxnews. I wonder if we'll get a rebuttle?
February 25, 2007, 12:44:30 AM EST – Like – Reply

Excellent, Johnny. "Echo Chamber" is right... er... left. Any dissenting voice is quashed, and so peer review sites like Digg are doomed: The lefties will always swarm to bury the truth, while the right right (Not to be redundant, and repeat myself) will continue to try to play fair.
Leftism is a mental disease and an emotional disorder.
February 25, 2007, 1:29:06 AM EST – Like – Reply

Capitalist Infidel
They must have edited the article cause I didn't see the part that says
"It cut away early from the show, Stoller said, giving conservative pundit William Bennett first crack at post-debate analysis."
Only the part about Bennett having first crack.....nothing about Fox cutting out early. Hmmm, another case of whitewashing after being caught lying?
February 25, 2007, 7:47:17 AM EST – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
No I ;think the cut away early claim is still there. It's on the MyDD page I link to, and in the SF Chronicle story as well. I emailed the writer of the Chronicle story and pointed out that the transcript of the debate broadcast proves Stoller's claims untrue but have not received a reply.
February 25, 2007, 8:47:26 AM EST – Like – Reply

Why bother with the boring truth when making it up will get the job done so much easier? After all, this is about Saving The World, man. From Fox News. Nothing and no one is sacred in a battle this important.
Doesn't this obsession at Digg with completely burying words they don't like give you a creepy feeling that, given the power they crave, they would move to burying the people who utter them?
February 25, 2007, 10:15:06 AM EST – Like – Reply

Good research! You proved once again why we need blogs to fact-check darn near everything.
February 25, 2007, 10:31:31 AM EST – Like – Reply

I too see the "cut away early" claim on MyDD. It's really amazing what great lengths people go to in order to smear FOX News. It's one thing to have an opposing viewpoint, but what these groups do is completely dishonest. It's baffling that so many people blindly follow them.
February 25, 2007, 11:14:53 AM EST – Like – Reply

Fox Fan
Listening to the livid lunacy of the liberal media FORCES people to tune in to Fox News if they are interested in factual reporting. The SF Chronicle and other leftist MSM outlets foam at the opportunity to bash Fox because their ideologies are threatened by the 'other' side of the stories that they'd rather not report. Fox presents the whole story, fair and balanced.
If they can't beat 'em, lie, slander, and smear 'em.
February 25, 2007, 11:47:09 AM EST – Like – Reply

Lynn B.
It's only another splash in the bucket of misrepresentation, but Juan Williams more or less moonlights as a Fox News analyst. His regular day job (and I know most people already know this) is Senior Correspondent for ... NPR.
February 25, 2007, 2:34:53 PM EST – Like – Reply

Liberals are nothing more than commies in better clothing. I hate them with every fiber of my being and eagerly await the day of attonement
February 26, 2007, 2:46:24 PM EST – Like – Reply

Fox Fan
That's not the way I feel about them (some liberals being friends of mine), but you have the right to express yourself same as the masses of venemous far-left bloggers/commenters on the net.
February 26, 2007, 6:42:10 PM EST – Like – Reply

Armand. In the day of attonment they will be burning in hell.
February 27, 2007, 4:14:03 PM EST – Like – Reply