Events in the campaign this week offer a case study in how Fox "News" assists the right wing --- in this case, the McCain campaign --- to disseminate disinformation:
Monday: Speaking before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, John McCain falsely claimed credit for supporting the 21st Century GI Bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.):
As a political proposition, it would have much easier for me to have just signed on to what I considered flawed legislation. But the people of Arizona, and of all America, expect more from their representatives than that, and instead I sought a better bill. I'm proud to say that the result is a law that better serves our military, better serves military families, and better serves the interests of our country.
In reality, the bill McCain "sought" was not Webb-Hagel, which he opposed because its tuition benefits were "too generous" to the troops. The version he sought was a different bill that he co-sponsored, and which "in no way resembles" the bill which was ultimately passed, as noted by ThinkProgress...
Eric Shawn, on behalf of Fox "News," on behalf of the RNC, continued their disingenuous and misleading "voter fraud" series over the weekend. As usual, they highlight phony fears of Democratic "voter fraud," naturally, while noting that there are "increasing cases" at what "some consider an alarming rate."
Again, and predictably, they recycle the same old, previously debunked ACORN bullshit in the latest segment. Prepare to hear more of the same, always mentioning ACORN by name, non-stop between here and November.
Trouble is, there are a few important points that Fox seems to forget to note when they join the Republicans in their misleading swiftboat campaign against ACORN. And then there's that one, rather notorious case of voter fraud felony that, for some odd reason, they seem unwilling to discuss in their continuing "investigative reports"...
[Update 8/15/08 5:05pm PT: The offending death threats discussed below, though not all of them, have now been removed by Townhall.com, and the writer's Townhall blog has had all comments scrubbed as well. So O'Reilly should therefore know about it all now, and can report on it next time Townhall's Amanda Carpenter joins him to dishonestly bash "far-left" blogs. Our cached version of the webpage still shows the offending more-than-month-old comments, as does the graphic at the bottom of this article.]
On Wednesday night, Fox "News'" Bill O'Reilly continued his dishonest and deceptive attacks on websites, such as Huffington Post and Daily Kos, which he misleadingly describes as "hate sites" featuring "vicious far-left attacks" as based on selective reader comments he's discovered posted on those sites.
In the latest of his continuing segments with "Internet Cop" Amanda Carpenter, of the rightwing website Townhall.com, O'Reilly pointed to a number of objectionable comments at the two sites, from "far-left kooks," before tepidly lauding both HuffPo and Daily Kos for having removed some of them, presumably after they were brought to the attention of site moderators.
"Where is that rocket propelled grenade launcher when you need one," O'Reilly displayed on a chyron, and then "Let's hope the dissidents aim is good!" Both of the quotes are purported to be from a "Blog Posting" at HuffPo, according to the Fox "News" graphic, posted in regard to a group of Iraq War Veterans who support the war effort.
Failing to note any distinction between actual articles posted by contributors to the two sites versus comments from anonymous and pseudonymous users, O'Reilly accuses "bloggers" at the two sites of posting "despicable" material, even though it's unknown whether the commenters in question are actually rightwing posters, or even O'Reilly supporters, writing under a pseudonym. The entire segment is posted at left, as recorded yesterday by The BRAD BLOG's Alan Breslauer.
"These people are out of control and that's where they live," O'Reilly notes indignantly before tossing it to Townhall's Carpenter for comment.
"It's a good step that they are moderating the comments section more, and we've applauded that," Carpenter says in reply, before noting the "deeper issue...of posting blogs" critical of the Iraq vet group, which is reportedly going back to the war-zone to report on the country's status following George W. Bush's "troop surge."
But O'Reilly and Carpenter clearly have been protesting a bit too much, as it turns out Carpenter's own website is guilty of the same --- and even far worse --- "vicious" attacks, and potentially even illegal ones, including death threats issued against Barack Obama and "traitorous liberals."
Despite the mock outrage of the Fox rightwingers, The BRAD BLOG has been pointed, by a reader, to a number of out-and-out (and repeated) death threats issued by "bloggers" at Carpenter's own Townhall site.
The multiple threatening comments are posted on the Townhall blog of rightwing radio host and blogger Hugh Hewitt, and include death threats against the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee, Barack Obama. They were posted on July 10th of this year at Townhall and, as of this posting on August 14th, still remain on the popular rightwing website which requires registration before commenters are allowed to post...
"Adkisson targeted the church, Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, 'because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.'
"Adkisson told Still that 'he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office.'
"Inside the house, officers found 'Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder' by radio talk show host Michael Savage, 'Let Freedom Ring' by talk show host Sean Hannity, and 'The O'Reilly Factor,' by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly."
"Adkisson, a 58-year-old truck driver on the verge of losing his food stamps, had 76 rounds with him when he entered the church and pulled a shotgun from a guitar case during a children's performance of the musical 'Annie.'
"It appears that church had received some publicity regarding its liberal stance," the chief said. The church has a "gays welcome" sign and regularly runs announcements in the News Sentinel about meetings of the Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays meetings at the church.
The church's Web site states that it has worked for "desegregation, racial harmony, fair wages, women's rights and gay rights" since the 1950s.
In related news yesterday...The DoJ's Office of the Inspector General issued a 140-page report [PDF] finding that officials at the Bush Justice Department, including Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson, broke the law for years by screening job applicants for non-political career civil servant/civil rights jobs based on professed fealty to George W. Bush, sexual orientation, their political views on same-sex marriage and abortion, and Internet searches to determine if they might be "liberal Democrats," as opposed to "good Americans."
Violations of the Rule of Law by Bush's Justice Department include a less-qualified candidate being hired for a counter-terrorism job on the belief that the more-qualified candidate's wife was a Democrat, a career prosecutor kept from promotions on the belief that she was a lesbian, and the firing of the U.S. Attorney with whom she was falsely rumored to be having an affair.
The stain of those illegally hired and fired by the Bush DoJ's Rightwing Affirmative Action Program will continue to spread its toxins throughout the Justice Department and American legal system for years to come.
Had this been a study showing liberal bias in the media, it would have been all over the place by now. But as the study offers evidence that it's McCain, not Obama, who has been given an edge by network media reporting since the start of the general election campaign, it seems we better help "catapult the propaganda" a bit.
Below is the beginning of David Knowles' coverage of the LA Times coverage of a new study from George Mason University's Center for Media and Public Affairs. The new study offers empirical evidence underscoring what most folks who honestly study the corporate media already know: Democrats get a far tougher time than do Republicans in the corporate mainstream media.
For those self-proclaimed "conservatives" who continue to buy into the nonsense of the "liberal media" canard (no matter the dearth of actual, hard, real-world evidence to substantiate it) please note this study does not come from one of those 'liberal elitist think-tanks.' Rather, it was led by a man hailed by "conservative" propagandists, such as Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck, for his previous studies on media bias. We have a feeling those same "conservatives" may accidentally not notice his latest study.
Just when you think they couldn't be more deceptive and/or dishonest, Fox "News" continues to find impressive new ways to lower the bar.
Here's just a bit of the latest idiocy --- the photos used during their attack story on New York Times reporters, along with the original photos which they doctored --- from the "news" outlet which is apparently now being run by 13-year olds with Photoshop...
During a segment on his radio show this morning, Bill O'Reilly reported from the alternate universe he lives in that the non-conservative radio network, Air America Radio, had "folded." (The audio clip is at the end of this article.)
The news, undoubtedly, came as a bit of a surprise to Thom Hartmann, whose successful live weekday radio program is syndicated by Air America Radio and runs in the same time slot as O'Reilly in many markets.
Contrary to O'Reilly's misinformation, The Thom Hartman Program likely even outpaces the Fox entertainer in listenership, as he told us this afternoon.
In response to our query, Hartmann told The BRAD BLOG that, while he didn't currently have access to O'Reilly's ratings for comparison, in a number of markets his show regularly beats Rush Limbaugh, who also broadcasts during the same hours. Limbaugh, in turn, regularly beats O'Reilly in listener numbers, Hartmann explained via email.
"I beat Limbaugh in Portland in the last [ratings] book," wrote Hartmann, who broadcasts out of Portland's KPOJ, "and in Seattle in the Fall '06 book...Limbaugh almost always beats O'Reilly, and I've beaten Limbaugh in multiple markets (2) over multiple years (3)."
Yesterday, as we reported, O'Reilly featured a segment on his Fox "News" television show declaring that Progressive activists calling for reform of the corporate stranglehold on mainstream media and the public airwaves were "fascists," "loons," "unstable people" and a "threat to the country." One of his guests, rightwing Republicanist Mary Katherine Hamm, charged that proponents of media reform, and those who oppose her and O'Reilly's minority fringe viewpoints, are "a group of people living in an alternative universe."
This morning, while arguing on The Radio Factor that it's a "bad strategy" for the GOP to attack Barack Obama's wife Michelle because it would "turn off independent voters" as needed by John McCain to win the Presidency, O'Reilly responded to a caller who disagreed with him by pointing to Air America as "the best example I can give you." He then proceeded to use wholly inaccurate information, describing Air America in the past tense, as if it no longer existed, in his "best example"...
Black is white. Up is down. And it's those calling for media reform who are "fascists" and "pose a danger" to this country according to Fox "News" entertainer clown Bill O'Reilly. Yes, that's what he claimed during the coverage of last weekend's National Conference for Media Reform in Minneapolis.
Happily, O'Reilly was able to find two "Fair and Balanced" guests, rightwing pawn Mary Katherine Hamm of Townhall.com and Fox's own "non-Rightwinger" Juan Williams (who has, clearly, enjoyed his fill of delicious Republicanist-flavored Fox "News" kool-aid over the years) to agree with him. Go figure.
BTW, contrary to O'Reilly's and guests' claims that those of us who favor corporate media reform wish to shut out "Conservative" voices, when I guest host I regularly try to include such voices, as on today's show, for example, when one of my first guests will be Ron Prentice of the California Family Council and the "Protect Marriage Coalition." His group is sponsoring the "California Marriage Protection Act" [PDF] ballot initiative this November, which would amend the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage here. I look forward to the conversation on the air later today.
O'Reilly uses every bully-boy, tough-guy, strong-arm tactic in his thuggish satchel. McClellan didn't blink. To his credit, he's standing by his book. All. of. it. In fact, the deer-in-the-headlights glaze he had for years at the WH press podium seems now to be entirely gone. We're impressed.
Here's O'Reilly's complete, three-segment, testosterone-amped, failed attempt to take down McClellan on tonight's O'Reilly Factor...
BTW, some on the supposedly-Progressive side --- such as the folks at MoveOn and other friends of ours --- have condemned McClellan for not speaking up sooner and for "profiting from lying to the public" during his time at the White House. While we understand that general impulse, we think the knee-jerk reaction may be a mistake. McClellan himself said last Sunday on Meet The Press that he hopes others will step forward to do as he did. So do we.
He's taken a huge hit from "his own" side by coming out as he has in a rather extraordinary and unprecedented way. His realizations, late in coming or otherwise, seem to be quite legit, heartfelt and rather courageous. It seems to us we should be more interested in making those who might do the same feel safe to do so, rather than kick them from all sides. Just our .02.
Be sure to let them know about Coulter's several felony acts down in Palm Beach County, Florida, (well-documented at the link above) by writing to them at their super-special tipster address: VoterFraud@FoxNews.com.
GoLeft's coverage of the story follows (1:45 mins), with a kind nod to The BRAD BLOG, as they join our call to action...
From their coverage:
The new claim being made by Fox is that illegal immigrants are going to be casting votes in November, playing on right-wing anti-immigrant sentiments. Fox News has now set out to find the evidence of fraud that the Bush Department of Justice could not, whipping up their audience with the threat of non-citizens "getting a fake ID, a driver's license, or a social security card and voting in this year's election." The network has even gone as far as creating a special email address for evidence - Voterfraud@foxnews.com. Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog has encouraged people to submit the case of Ann Coulter, who as Brad says, "knowingly lied about her address on her voter registration form in Palm Beach County, Florida; proceeded to break the law again by knowingly voting at the wrong precinct; then lied about it repeatedly; hired a former Bush attorney to protect her; and even called her FBI ex-boyfriend to save her, when it looked like the Palm Beach County Sheriff might actually bring charges.
We've long argued that same-sex marriage was, for all intents and purposes, a done deal. Marriage equality, under virtually any legitimate conservative reading of the U.S. and most state Constitutions, cannot be denied.
If the segment, at right, from tonight's O'Reilly Factor is any indication, it looks like even Bill O'Reilly is finally coming to grips with that fact, in light of the new poll showing for the first time that a majority of Californians are finally in favor.
Neither O'Reilly, nor his guest, "family law attorney" and "gay marriage opponent" Don Schweitzer, seem to be able to come up with a single legitimate reason to oppose it. The uncomfortable silences while they reach for something...anything...is really something to see. And if they've lost O'Reilly, well, the dead-enders may take a while longer to get the message, but it's over. The good guys will win this one...
What's a Grand Ol' Party to do when they wish to disenfranchise Democratic voters via the specious specter of "voter fraud" when they can't actually find any evidence to make their case? Why, call their media wing at Fox "News" of course!
Fox picks up today where the DoJ and Republican Party have had no luck so far, but not for lack of trying. Hey, if you can't beat 'em, publicize 'em, and make it sound like you're beating 'em, at least.
David Edwards and Muriel Kane report at RAW STORY today that Fox is running a "special investigation" into non-citizens throwing elections:
"Could illegal immigrants sway an election?' Eric Shawn of Fox News asked on Wednesday, raising the terrifying specter of "people who are not even citizens voting for whomever they want."
Since 2005, the Bush administration has been pushing the idea that "voter fraud" is a widespread problem, even firing US Attorneys who did not make the investigation of claims of fraud a priority. However, investigations have never found more than a handful of votes being cast illegally, while requiring proof of citizenship seems likely to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, mostly the poor and elderly who may not be able to secure required documentation.
Fox News has now set out to find the evidence of fraud that the Bush Department of Justice could not, whipping up their audience with the threat of non-citizens "getting a fake ID, a driver's license, or a social security card and voting in this year's election."
"If you think there's voter fraud where you live, or there are other election problems, we at Fox News want to know about it," Shawn told viewers. "You can email us. ... firstname.lastname@example.org."
Well, you heard 'em, kids. Fox is looking for voter fraud! Feel free to email them this link: http://www.bradblog.com/CoulterFraud documenting the no-uncertain-terms case of Ann Coulter having committed voter fraud in Palm Beach County, Florida!
Fox would love to hear from you at: email@example.com. Feel free to let 'em know I sent you, in case they have any further questions. I'll be happy to speak to them, and help 'em root out those voter fraud criminals!
BTW, Fox & Friends, at least, already knows about Coulter's voter fraud, since they called me last year to ask me to appear on their morning show to talk about it after Liz Smith ran an item on the matter in Murdoch's NY Post pointing to BRAD BLOG's coverage...