7/7/09 9:15 AM

Fox Haters Week in Review

An old morsel of mendacity is resurrected, while Sanford sparks a blue-blog storm. It's time for another action-packed edition of Fox Haters Week in Review.

Moldy Oldie:
Every now and then a hallowed, time-honored myth about FNC suddenly reappears, sprouting up all over the internet as if it were a late-breaking news development. That happened this week with the resuscitation of an old favorite from half a decade ago. We traced the outbreak of this virus to the ironically-named CeaseSpin:

Appellate Court Rules Media Can Legally Lie The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdock, successfully argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves.
This case was all about reporter Steve Wilson and his wife, working not for FNC but for a Fox affiliate in Florida (it would later be a Fox-owned station but this all began when it was still independent). The kerfuffle was over their report on the safety of a Monsanto food additive. The station refused to air the original version deeming it one-sided. Wilson and Wife, having refused to allow Monsanto's point of view in the story, were eventually let go, and a report aired without their participation. Lawrence Grossman in the Columbia Journalism Review stated it was:
a strong and effective three-part investigative series on the subject, produced by a different reporter, Nathan Lang. His series was hardly any different in substance from the versions that Akre and Wilson and the station had been battling over the previous year.
So much for the Fox plot to bury the story. As for the truth of the allegations, the Washington Post summed it up:
Could hormones meant to make cows give more milk lead to early puberty, as some parents fear? On its face, it sounds plausible enough. But government and pediatric health experts say there are no scientific data to back up such an association. For one thing, they say, rBGH does not survive pasteurization. And even if it did, they add, it has absolutely no effect on human growth. "Not only is there no evidence" that rBGH affects human growth, says Paul Kaplowitz, the new chief of endocrinology at Children's National Medical Center and a specialist in the issue of early puberty, "it's not even scientifically possible."...
"The thing has been studied up and down and sideways; there are no safety issues to consumers," said Susan Ruland, vice president for communications of the IDFA, which represents both conventional and organic milk producers. Many consumers, however, don't seem to be getting the message.
Wilson and Wife sued WTVT. The jury threw out Wilson's case, but found for his wife on the issue of wrongful termination of a whistleblower. Then the appeals court stepped in with its widely cited (but rarely quoted verbatim) decision.

Keep in mind that the court did not find anything about the 1st Amendment giving broadcasters the right to "legally lie". How could that be relevant, as there was no issue in the case involving "lying", and the court was never asked to rule on any such issue. The court's decision (which makes no mention of the 1st Amendment) resolved an employment dispute, centering on the issue of whether Wilson's wife qualified under the legal definition of "whistleblower". They found that she did not, based on a complicated technicality. Whistleblowers expose violations of laws, rules, or regulations. The FCC does have policies regarding "news distortion", but do they amount to a "rule"? The court didn't find that they did, but said even if they did amount to a "rule", there was another impediment. To apply in a termination suit Florida law required that rules be "adopted" rather than put in place via an adjudicative procedure. For those reasons, Ms Akre's victory was reversed, leaving both plaintiffs with unsuccessful verdicts.

Wilson and his cohorts claimed that the court "ruled" that media have the right to lie, despite the fact that the court made no such ruling and there was no "lying" at issue in the suit. This spin was echoed by Salon, Biotalk, and others. Then this week's post from ceasespin made it Big News all over again. Examples: Civilianism:
Think of the implications of this. It means broadcast news can be purposely wrong and false, and that’s OK.
Fox News gets okay to misinform public, court ruling
Tao of Zen Nihilism:
It's official: FOX NEWS IS LYING TO YOU...The "Fair and Balanced" network arguing that they have the right to lie and distort the facts. Now, why would they need to do that?
Man Droppings:
Yes, Fox News has won a court ruling that holds that broadcasters have a 1st Amendment right to deliberately distort news or outright lie on the air. This is a ruling that Fox News sought, and that their lawyers fought for.
Today Steve Wilson is a reporter for WXYZ-TV in Detroit, where his antics are still raising eyebrows and questions. A specialist in "ambush" journalism, Wilson is nonetheless a hero to the blue blogs and Fox haters who attack Bill O'Reilly for the same tactic.

Lettering in Hate:
The extraordinary reaction this week to a chyron labeling Republican Mark Sanford as a (D) is an archetypical case study in how the Fox haters echo chamber spreads its venom. It all begin when Media Matters came up with a screengrab, and plastered the headline:
On Fox, Mark Sanford "(D)" holds press conference
Before we go any further, let's examine the facts andto determine conclusion to draw from them. The day of the presser, FNC had been reporting on the situation repeatedly, always calling him a Republican and identifying Sanford with an (R). When the press conference began, a new chryon announcing it appeared, but Sanford had a (D) after his name. That was removed from the air after seven seconds, and moments later it reappeared with the proper (R). The (R) designation continued through the press conference and beyond, and FNC continued to call him a Republican.

Now, what is the most likely, logical explanation for this sequence of events? 1: Somebody typed in the wrong letter by mistake, and it was immediately corrected? Or B: This is another Fox trick to make everyone think Sanford is a Democrat!? You may have your answer, but the noise machine has theirs. Wonkette:
Fox News Scoop: Uhh…Mark Sanford Is A Democrat
Dungeon Diary:
Fox News is about as dishonest a group of alleged reporters as there is. Media Matters caught the liars again. While reporting on Republican Governor Sanford's admission of an extramarital affair, they labeled him as a Democrat. Fair and balanced my ass!
Pirika Pirilala:
Apparently, Fox News had Mark Sanford (R) as a Democrat for 15 minutes while he was admitting to his affair which occurred during his mysterious disappearance. Not only is the affair yet another blow to the scandalous Republican party, but Fox News once again shows its bias.
As they did with another naughty Republican (Mark Foley), Fox News put a “D” where an “R” should have been.
Politics from the Eye of an Ebony Mom:
When he was the fiscal conservative Fox News embraced him, but today this hero of the right was identified as a Democrat. Did the graphics guy make a mistake? No this was a deliberate attempt to deceive, and it did not work.
Daily Kos:
Enough. They have to be made to pay for their unprofessionalism and lying. Their primary appeal is to low-information voters who are by now emotionally invested in believing anything they say. But they also appeal to people watching the news, in too many public places, out of the corner of their eye, whom they want to associate "scandal" with the "D" brand.
News Corpse:
Fox News, however, has stayed faithful to their deceptive mission by identifying Sanford as a Democrat in their on-screen graphics (h/t Media Matters). At what point can we agree that this is deliberate?
How many of these rabid rabble-rousers reported any of the background facts? How many told their readers that the mistaken (D) was up for all of seven seconds, then taken down and replaced by the proper (R) thereafter? Answer: none of them! The closest to make any mention at all was Media Matters, who--after their story had gone all over the echo chamber--added a line of text underneath their screengrab:
(Fox News later correctly identified Sanford as a Republican.)
"Later"? Nicely vagued-up verbiage from Brock's brigade, as it lets the reader imagine whatever time frame fits the meme. Like after the presser? The next hour? No, it was a matter of seconds later! Would it have killed Media Matters to report that? Update: Kudos to Pirika Pirilala, who corrected their entry after this post was brought to their attention.

So eager are the haters to make this some sort of Fox trick used to protect Republicans that they are convinced it could never happen the other way around. Kos again:
But if it's an accident, then let's see, out of all the times when this accident could occur, whether it does occur only in the specific context of wanting to associate a misbehaving Republican with the Democratic Party.  Yes, let's see that.
As you wish:

We looked and couldn't find where any of these cites attacked Fox for this obvious attempt to protect a scandal-plagued Democrat. Or even mentioned it! News Corpse was aware of it (as well as the seven seconds time frame for the error) and yet left all of that out of their post. In fact, they showed up at TVNewser complaining about their link to our Blago screengrab!

Spot something you'd like to see in the next Fox Haters Week in Review? Send us an email!

david smawley
J$, hats off to you for actually visiting these obsure blogs and compiling this info. Some of their names like"man droppings" kinda tells you what kind of content lies therein. You are a better man than I as I have little use for these haters. I do post on Newhounds every now and then just to see if my stuff makes the cut, usually it does as they can't quite figure me out. Now I have blown my cover, I will survive.
June 28, 2009, 8:01:14 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Great job Johnny, another excellent edition of FHWiR.
June 28, 2009, 8:17:54 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Thanks. I'm a little worried about this one because analyzing statutory language to explain the technical details of a court ruling can get a bit wearing for the reader. But the story had to be told.
June 28, 2009, 8:21:31 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Mark @ News Corpse
C'mon Johnny. Be fair.
First of all, my post about the (D) designation for Sanford was a brief, humorous aside. Do you take everything this seriously?
Secondly, I did not "complain" at TVNewser about your link to the Blago screen grab. I complained about TVNewser not sourcing the Sanford image to Media Matters. Don't you think they should have?
Thirdly, I actually praised you at TVNewser saying:
"I didn't disparage anyone, including Johnny Dollar, who I think is a mostly responsible and honest right-winger. I just happen to disagree with him."
And after that you misleadingly attack me? That's not very gracious, is it?
June 28, 2009, 10:32:15 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Sorry I didn't see your 'praise' of me; it wasn't there when I saved the link. I appreciate your gushing comments; maybe I'll include them in my next resume as an example of 'praise' for my writing!  
Of course you say you didn't complain about them using the link and yet in your comment you derisively sneer about them getting information from the "right-wing" (without documenting that claim) J$.
As for your post being a 'brief, humorous aside', I would only point out that such 'brief, humorous asides' proliferate like dandelions, and they all have something in common: they don't tell the whole truth. It's those 'brief, humorous asides' that all go one way that are designed to sell a meme. In other words, they are a 'brief, humorous' form of propaganda.
If I had seen a similar spate of 'brief, humorous asides' when MSNBC mislabeled people's party affiliation, or when Fox called Blago a Republican, then I might consider the possibility that it's all just in fun and not meant to be taken seriously. If you claim that your blog is not meant to be taken seriously, I will defer to your judgment. If you claim otherwise, then perhaps you can point me to your posts about Fox trying to protect Democrats by calling Blago a Republican. With, of course, the insinuation that it was done on purpose.
June 28, 2009, 10:59:56 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Mark @ News Corpse
Are you denying that you're right-wing? Or are you ashamed of it?
If you saw derision in my remarks about the Blago link, it was entirely in your head.
And I'm sorry to hear that you really do have such a limited sense of humor. If you don't want to take my site seriously, that's OK with me, I'm not going to characterize it for you. It is what it is - and it stands on its own.
June 29, 2009, 2:55:41 AM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
"Are you denying that you're right-wing? Or are you ashamed of it?"
I'm just wondering if that is a practice of yours: to characterize people without basis or visible evidence. You can use 'right-wing' as a pejorative and toss it around at me because you find what I do inconvenient. But it would be nice if you had something to base it on, no?
June 29, 2009, 9:56:44 AM EDT – Like – Reply

"Are you denying that you're right-wing? Or are you ashamed of it?"
That's when Mark lost the argument.
June 29, 2009, 11:26:08 AM EDT – Like – Reply

News Hounds don't need no steeeeenking facts!!
June 29, 2009, 11:40:57 AM EDT – Like – Reply

There will be silence from the Happy Heinous Hens of Houndland on the matter of Fox News being allowed to lie.
Ellen is over there now saying, "Oh shit, I keep getting caught in lies".
June 29, 2009, 11:46:07 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Thanks for linking to us. While we do admit that we were in error over at Pirika Pirilala, (noticed a typo there; no big deal) we publicly corrected ourselves (although the original remains intact). Again, big thanks for linking to us.
June 29, 2009, 2:14:02 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Happy to link to you, even more so when a site has the integrity to correct its mistakes. Thanks for letting us know, and we'll fix the typo too!
June 29, 2009, 2:33:46 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Fox Fan
Who is StewartIII who seems to have posted your correction at NewsCorpse (a blecch site) and Pirika Pirilala (who I can't help but to like for her Gravatar)?  
They also posted at "politics from the eyes of an ebony mom", "dungeon diary", and likely other links.
You have a Johnny Appleseed spreading the good words of truth about the net and linking back to your orchard, J$.
June 29, 2009, 6:43:17 PM EDT – Like – Reply

@ Fox Fan: I'm male. -_- That's not my name, it's the name of.... ugh. I'll post the article.
(Not political in nature, also very lengthy at 5400+ words, so the explanation is nearly halfway through; leave comments please.)
Also, Johnny Dollar, could you please also edit to say we stand corrected?
June 29, 2009, 8:26:33 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
I checked your post earlier and found the correction. I've already updated the article and the edit will be published with the next upload in a few hours' time.
June 29, 2009, 8:41:36 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Fox Fan
@pirikapirilala: I didn't have time tonight to read all 5400 words, but I got the impression it has something to do with tentacle hentai. :lol:
Just kidding, welcome to the site! We're actually quite nice here. Just watch out for Cecelia, she's a firecracker!
June 29, 2009, 8:59:01 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Thanks, Johnny.
June 29, 2009, 9:20:04 PM EDT – Like – Reply

@ Fox Fan
Um.... no. It has nothing to do with that. I assume you're in the same boat as me? Since you know what it is, people think you "enjoy" it?
God, people can be ignorant.
June 30, 2009, 10:05:13 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Fox Fan
Not all people are ignorant when it comes to tentacle hentai. It has been a topic in my office a few times and everybody knows what it means, in fact most of us have seen it, but it doesn't mean it's something everyone "enjoys" as in watches as a pastime. We do enjoy talking about it. It's one of the oddities in life that our fellow humans provided for our entertainment, even if it's bizarre/taboo in many circles.
June 30, 2009, 8:36:47 PM EDT – Like – Reply

I just noticed somthing weird......this weekend Newdope had a story about Billy Mays and how Fox was trying to blame US Air wrongly about his death.....I saw tonight that AP was asking the same questions still about his death so I thought i would waste my time and inform newdope of that fact.....only the story is now gone and searching for Billy Mays returns nothing.....it looks like allot of stuff i saw on Sun is now gone.
Maybe being called out for his lies is working....of course it would be better to not post the lies in the first place.....but deleting is still a first step.
July 1, 2009, 2:31:02 AM EDT – Like – Reply

I'm a kid in high school. I know what it is, therefore the ignorants at large think I pleasure myself to it.
Ack. Freakin' people.
July 1, 2009, 9:45:41 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Fox Fan | Homepage | 06.30.09 - 8:41 pm | #  
pirikapirilala | Homepage | 07.01.09 - 9:50 am | #  
What in the world are you two talking about?
Uhh, scratch that! I probably don't want to know.
Might I suggest that you two get a room and carry on there!
July 1, 2009, 1:14:15 PM EDT – Like – Reply

You don't, Grammie.
July 1, 2009, 6:20:13 PM EDT – Like – Reply

July 1, 2009, 7:54:04 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Great installation this week. It just bothers me that this site is among the very few holding the lefty blogoshpere to account for dishonesty. And it's a shame because there's so much to go after. I get the sense that the right wing still lags far behind the left in terms of getting organized on the internet and fighting back against liberal propoganda sites like ThinkProgress and C&L.
Dollar, if we could clone you and form an army of skilled Independent bloggers, we'd be in decent shape.
July 1, 2009, 10:14:04 PM EDT – Like – Reply

I forget who said this, but they basically say that while conservatives rule the domain of talk radio, liberals have the blogosphere.
And I'm an awesome independent blogger. Sure, me and my 4 other contributors make some egregious mistakes, but we always admit that we screwed up, and I'm willing to give credit to both sides and blame to both sides.
July 2, 2009, 9:38:58 AM EDT – Like – Reply