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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By David Edwards on 4/26/2006 6:14am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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It looks like the conservative Fox News host, Tony Snow, will be the new White House Press Secretary. Snow is probably one of the more mature right-wing pundits. He has often been very critical of President Bush. In November of 2005 after Republicans lost Virginia's Governor race, Snow wrote, "His wavering conservatism has become an active concern among Republicans, who wish he would stop cowering under the bed and start fighting back... The newly passive George Bush has become something of an embarrassment."

It's an interesting PR move by the White House. Fox News predicts that Snow will command more respect from the White House Press Corps. Will the reporters go easier on Snow? NBC's David Gregory says that he will not change his aggressive style.

Here are a few more quotes from Snow (compiled by MSNBC):

  • "[President Bush has] lost control of the Federal Budget" - 03/17/2006
     
  • "No president has looked this impotent this long..." - 09/30/2005
     
  • "The English Language has become a minefield for the man. whose malaprops makes him the political heir not of Ronald Reagan but Norm Crosby... At one point last week, he stunned a friendly audience by barking out absurd and inappropriate words, like a soul tortured with Tourette's" - 08/25/2000
     
  • "The newly passive George Bush has become something of an embarrassment." - 11/11/2005

UPDATE FROM BRAD: Let's also not overlook Snow's mountain of irresponsible and inaccurate "reporting". A few examples here and then more here. Plus MediaMatters has some suggested questions for Tony's first snow job day.

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Those Identified in Survey as Independent Voters Vastly Agree with Democrats, Not Republicans, as GOP Voters Continue Their Move to the Extreme Political Margins
By Brad Friedman on 4/21/2006 1:01pm PT  

According to a BRAD BLOG analysis of the Fox "News"/Opinion Dynamics poll [PDF] released yesterday, which showed George W. Bush's latest approval rating at an all-time low of 33%, respondents in the poll who identified themselves as Republican are revealed by the survey time and again to be completely out of touch with mainstream American voters.

A review of the 13 questions asked in the survey where Republican majority responses differed completely from Democratic majority responses to the same question, finds that those identifying themselves as Independents agreed with the Democratic majority opinion nearly 100% of the time.

For example, on the question "Do you think it is appropriate for retired military generals to openly criticize Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during wartime or not?," 71% of Democratic respondents said YES and just 24% said NO.

On the other hand, Republicans had the opposite opinion - YES: 36% and NO: 62%.

Breaking the tie then, were those identified as Independents who agreed with the Democrats on the matter by answering YES: 64% and NO: 32%.

In virtually every single case where Republican majority opinion disagreed with Democratic majority opinion, the Independents agreed with the Democrats --- suggesting that Republican voters, even in (or especially in) a Fox "News" poll are completely out of touch and out of step with mainstream America.

The only minor exception was on the question: "Do you think Donald Rumsfeld should resign as secretary of defense?" Democrats said YES: 57% and NO: 22%. Republicans said YES: 18% and NO: 67%. The tie was broken by Independents barely breaking in Republican favor with responses YES: 41% and NO: 42%.

The poll, however, has a margin of error of plus/minus 3% points. So the response from Independents wasn't conclusive as to whether they agreed more with Dems or Reps on that one question only.

After five years of malicious propaganda by Republican opinion-leaders attempting to paint Democrats as "out of touch with mainstream America," it's interesting to find that the Republicans' own Fox "News" Poll reveals that it is the GOP --- not the Dems --- who now seem to be on the "kook fringe" of American political public opinion.

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Hume, Hannity, Gibson, Limbaugh Forced to Come Up With New Excuses
(We predict it'll all be the fault of the 'Liberal Media' of course)
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2006 2:48pm PT  

How will the poor Fox "News" Bush dead-enders cover for their man now that their own poll is out showing Bush at all-time lows with just a 33% approval rating. That number includes a full 20% drop in Republican support from one year ago!

Just over a month ago, when CBS released their poll pegging Bush Approval at 34% the Fox Wingnuts bent over backwards to dismiss the poll as untrustworthy:

"This is not representative of the --- of the population of the country in any way, shape, manner, or form. Nor is the fact that Bush has 34 percent. ... You just know that's not possible. It simply isn't possible," Rush Limbaugh said on February 28th, when the poll was released.

Brit Hume on Special Report said, "[T]here's good reason to be skeptical of this CBS poll. It's wildly oversampled Democrats."

Sean Hannity spun with, "The first thing we find out that nearly two to one they polled Democrats."

And John Gibson joined the dead-enders-in-denial with, "Of course, it's weighted with more Democrats, so you've got to take that into account."

The CBS poll put Cheney's approval rating at 18% at the time, by the way. The Fox "News" poll, though it asks about the approval ratings of Condi Rice and Don Rumsfield, seems to have failed to poll on Cheney's approval rating for some odd reason. Go figure.

(Hat-tip to MediaMatters.org for tracking Fox "News" and their lack of touch with reality on this matter last February.)

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By David Edwards on 4/20/2006 6:16am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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"You're watching Fox News. America's Top News Source... for White People."

Bill O'Reilly takes us into the "No Spin Zone" for meaningless interviews of Seymour Hersh and Newt Gingrich. SNL's O'Reilly spits out almost as many incorrect facts as the real Bill.

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Lots of Electoral Stuff in One Neat Package...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2006 10:00pm PT  

Notable news around the nation in regard to Electronic Voting, Election Reform and Voting in general is coming now at a more and more frenetic pace. We've got much more we're personally working on, but today there were a few other small-ish, yet notable-ish stories worth mentioning. Here they are --- wrapped into one single, user-friendly, BRAD BLOG item...

1) California May Want to Get Ready for Diebold Related Lawsuits
Voter Action --- the group who has successfully received a Temporary Restraining Order against the purchase of Sequoia voting machines in New Mexico while they enjoy unprecedented "discovery" on such machines --- has turned their eye towards Diebold in California, given the latest developments/shenanigans concerning SoS Bruce McPherson's re-certification in apparent violation of state laws and regulalations. The Voter Action press release issued today indicates that litigation in California, similar to that in New Mexico, might be very appropriate. Stay tuned.

2) Greens/Libertarians Demand Reinstatement of Federal Ohio '04 Recount Suit
Yes, they're still fighting for your vote to be counted. A Federal judge recently dismissed their lawsuit charging that the 2004 Ohio Presidential Recount was gamed. The reason for the dismissal: The point was now moot, since the 2004 recount procedures would not be used again. But, according to 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate David Cobb, what the judge didn't know when he dismissed the case, was that Ohio's SOB SoS, J. Kenneth Blackwell, recently announced that recount procedures would be the same in the future. Game back on, says Cobb in his motion to re-instate the case.

3) Diebold Whistleblower Charged With Three Felony Counts
The LA Times reports today (link above) that Stephen Heller, the man who released internal memos from Diebold's California law firm in 2002 showing they were aware of a number of election law violations pled "not guilty" to the charges. Says his attorney, "Certainly, someone who saw those documents could have reasonably believed that thousands of voters were going to be potentially disenfranchised in upcoming elections." Diebold fought to keep the docs from being published. They lost. Eventually it all led to a multi-million dollar settlement with California and BlackBoxVoting.org, who has more on this...

4) TV News Waking Up to Election Reform Issues!
WGAL in Philadelphia covers the Electoral mess hitting their state. The second of their two-part report takes a look into the unsavory legal backgrounds of virtually ALL of the American Voting Machine companies. From ES&S to Sequoia to Danaher to Diebold, etc. Here's to more local news outlets jumping into the game where the national media is failing!

5) George W. Bush Acts Like He Gives a Damn About the Voting Rights Act
A few years ago, he didn't know what it was. Now, with it coming up for renewal in 2007, after his Dept. of Justice has all but gutted it, Bush has the temerity to call for its renewal as if he cares about it. Says Bush in this short video today (thanks David Edwards!): The VRA is a "milestone in the history of civil Rights. Congress must act to renew the Voting Rights Act of 1965." Like he could give a shit.

6) Parallel Universe: Election Reform as Covered by Fox "News"
A preview of how the MSM (led as usual by Fox) will likely cover Election Reform as soon as they notice the massive crisis. Which is to say, they'll report on everything that doesn't matter, but that which Fox and the GOP tells them is important. In their article, Fox, of course, puts the emphasis on States that haven't implemented HAVA fast enough, Photo ID requirement laws, the non-existent problem of "Voter Fraud" (yes, all the Baker/Carter Commission cretins, including our friend, the unrepentant Robert Pastor make unsurprisingly Fox-friendly cameos) and finally, at the end --- the very end --- a brief nod to a few concerns about Electronic Voting. The biggest concern there? "Inexperienced poll workers" having problems with the "new technology." Hey, it's the "#1 Name in News" for a reason, baby!

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The Continuing Pro-Administration Bias of both WaPo and Fox News
And the Hypocrisy of One Very Dangerous Republican Congressman from Florida
By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2006 5:12pm PT  

Hopefully this will be my last words on the disgraceful incident involving the arrest, removal and detention of Cindy Sheehan, who gave the life of her child in defense of this country, just prior to Tuesday's State of the Union address.

This latest canary-in-the-coalmine story made the front page of WaPo today, and reveals quite clearly both the Media's and at least one Republican's bias against those who do not agree with the George W. Bush Administration...As well as the disregard for our Constitutional Freedom of Speech. At least by the Republican.

The WaPo article, written by Petula Dvorak, first reveals the pro-administration media bias and/or their consistent inability to fairly report on an unfair situation. Note this early graf:

[Capitol Police Chief Terrance W.] Gainer said he also would ask that charges against Sheehan --- she was arrested; Beverly Young left before it came to that --- be dropped. "It was," he said, "a good-faith mistake by officers operating under poor direction."

In other words it's implied here that Beverly Young, the wife of Congressman Bill Young (R-FL), who was removed from gallery at some point during Bush's speech wasn't arrested because, unlike Sheehan, it didn't come to that. Mrs. Young must have been polite (she wasn't) requiring no arrest, while Sheehan must have been unruly (she wasn't) requiring arrest and hours of detention.

The fact of the matter, however, as clearly explained later in the article, is that Mrs. Young was never threatened with arrest at all, unlike Sheehan who was frog-marched out of the chamber and handcuffed from the get-go. And that was even with Sheehan being polite in every respect, by all accounts of the story, while Young was abusive towards the cops, calling them "idiots" (that night, and even later after their eventually apology) and, as WaPo points out, "Witnesses said her words for him were much saltier the night before."

After a night of fingerprinting and booking and lockup, Sheehan departed the city. But Young had not, and her response as she enjoyed hugs from supporters yesterday after the apology was to call Gainer "an idiot." Witnesses said her words for him were much saltier the night before.

As I mentioned yesterday in my article on "Cindy Sheehan's Unequal Treatment Under the Law", the Wingnuts who've been busy trying to equate Sheehan's treatment with Young's ("They were both asked to leave, so clearly there's no political bias here!" say the apologists) have also overlooked the fact that Young was asked to leave much later. After the cops already had an embarrassing situation on their hands. As WaPo reported...

About 45 minutes into the speech, an officer asked Beverly Young to step outside, where he told her: "We consider you a protester" because of her shirt, she said.

She said she angrily challenged officers to explain what law she had violated, and they threatened arrest.

She said an officer mentioned that Sheehan was removed earlier and therefore "it was kind of only fair" that she be asked to leave, too.

It's clear that Mrs. Young would have been left alone with her "Support the Troops" T-shirt and would not have been asked to leave, had not the cops already had the Sheehan situation on their hands, and needed to cover their asses.

Finally then, it's revealed in the story that the hypocritical Congressman Young himself would likely not have said a word about Sheehan's treatment (which was much worse than his wife's) had his wife not been asked to leave. He admits as much:

Young said he wouldn't be so mad if it were just Sheehan. "I totally disagree with everything she stands for," he said. But by removing his wife, Gainer's officers clearly "acted precipitously," Young said.

So the woman actually arrested, detained, and perhaps even "roughed up" was no problem for Young's "standards" because he "totally disagree[s] with everything she stands for."

Welcome to the amazingly slipperly slope...as it gets still slipperier and slopier every damn day in this country.

Still unclear? See how Judge Anthony Napolitano --- who defended Sheehan on Fox News, ostensibly, once it became clear she broke no rules or laws --- reportedly contrasted Young's T-shirt with Sheehan's. Young's, said Napolitano, in regard to the "Support the Troops" T-shirt, was "a Republican T-shirt."

Fox happily took up the meme on their website:

"Sheehan's T-shirt alluded to the number of soldiers killed in Iraq: '2245 Dead. How many more?' ... Young's shirt had just the opposite message: 'Support the Troops --- Defending Our Freedom.'"

The "opposite message"?!

It's a dangerous fucking line we're crossing here in America 2006. Pay attention.

ALSO... It's not just the MSM who get the story wrong in their rush for political points. Blogger Glenn Greenwald reports on tons of Wingnut bloggers who couldn't wait to lie about the Sheehan story to their readers...and then refuse to correct themselves after it was proven how incredibly wrong they were.

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By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2005 3:01pm PT  

The folks at DU are talking about this caller to O'Reilly's Radio Factor on Friday claims to have refused a tip to a waitress after she said "Happy Holidays" at the end of the meal.

Here's the audio clip [MP3] (it's just about two minutes).


What are your thoughts?

UPDATE: Eric Jaffa at SpeakSpeak says the call reveals O'Reilly as a "flip-flopper" for contradicting his own previous statements about "Happy Holidays".

ADDENDUM: Larisa has some serious thoughts on the threat O'Reilly's silly campaign poses to this country in an open letter at HuffPo.

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Claims, Without Proof, His Own Personal Info Was Posted Online by Critics
Bill O'Reilly, Who Complained About Others Posting 'Private' Info Online To Have Coulter as Guest on Tonight's 'O'Reilly Factor'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2005 12:45pm PT  

Former homosexual male prostitute cum disgraced former White House correspondent, James "Jeff Gannon" Guckert has decided to ring in in support of Ann Coulter's recent posting of private information of a BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger on her website.

It's been three days since Coulter posted a personal email address and phone number of author and actress Lydia Cornell on the front page of her website. The petulant act by the Republican talking head was in apparent retaliation for an article written for BRAD BLOG by Cornell which described her experience in trying to track down a copy of a fundraiser address Coulter had given recently for the Alachua Florida Republican Party in which she called for the repression of free speech by Democrats.

Cornell has received myriad threatening emails and crank callers in the three days since Coulter posted her private information online. She has asked Coulter to remove it and Coulter has so far refused.

In support of Coulter's invasion of Cornell's privacy, Guckert/Gannon, a shill who had worked in the White House for GOPNews.com until his secret background as a prostitute was exposed, attempted to defend the Rightwing polemicist yesterday on his website by claiming:

Funny, these same folks didn't have any problems publishing my phone number, home address, Social Security number and medical records online...

Gannon/Guckert presented no evidence to back up his assertion. His reported presence at the White House more than two dozen times when no press briefings were scheduled --- as described in Secret Service documents obtained by RAW STORY --- has never been explained. Gannon/Guckert had no previous journalistic experience before being granted access as journalist to the White House.

Of course, The BRAD BLOG has never posted any such information, as claimed by Guckert/Gannon, but we checked in today with John Aravosis who was instrumental in uncovering the Guckert/Gannon scandal when it first appeared on his AMERICAblog website. He was the first to post links to Gannon's several military-themed gay escort websites (including MilitaryStud.com and MaleCorps.com) featuring full frontal nude photos which Guckert/Gannon had posted of himself online.

Aravosis, who followed the story as close as anybody, tells The BRAD BLOG that he's unfamiliar with anybody having ever published Gannon/Guckert's phone number, home address or medical records anywhere on line. Though he says that when he was alerted to a commenter at AMERICAblog having posted what appeared to be Gannon/Guckert's Social Security number in the comments section, he removed it immediately.

Aravosis strongly disagreed with Gannon/Guckert's claim. "We never knew where he lived. We still don't!" Aravosis told us. "We never had his phone number. Nobody did as far as I know. All the top journalists that I know of had to contact him by email since he never gave his phone number to anybody!"

"As to his medical records," he continued, "The only records we tried to find was his military records because he said he was a marine...and it turned out he was lying!"

Aravosis draws the difference between his work uncovering a phony journalist in the White House being "outed" by his own online websites featuring his own nude photos with what Coulter has done to Cornell.

"It's kind of creepy," he said, "posting someone's personal phone number. When I saw his Social Security number come up in comments, I deleted it immediately. But Coulter is purposely posting that information herself on her own website. I've never used anybody's home information...that's just creepy."

On her website today, Coulter claims she will be appearing tonight on Bill O'Reilly's The O'Reilly Factor.

As Cornell pointed out in her initial public response to all of this, O'Reilly had slammed the Media Matters watchdog organization when he claimed they "violated privacy" by posting someone's email address online. Though the email address posted was a public email address, O'Reilly characterized those who would do such a thing as "zombies."

Thanks to the posters at Democratic Underground for alerting us to the latest chapter in this shameful saga. A discussion on this, and the continued unanswered questions concerning the Gannon/Guckert story is linked here.

O'Reilly will be hosting zombie, Ann Coulter tonight on Fox "News" at 8pm ET.

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It Takes all Kinds...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2005 8:19pm PT  

To be clear, most of the email we receive is extraordinarily kind. (And, while we're at it, apologies to those to whom we are, too frequently these days, unable to reply!) And then on occasion, we get something like this...

FROM: Fred [fmbuschhoff@removed for privacy]
SUBJECT: Closet Rushie?

Call me a wimpy liberal, but you sure sound like you're on Bill O'Reilly's payroll. There's nothing the right would like more than for people to think that people like you respresent the ideas of liberal Democrats. Your articles make Ann Coulter sound like she is both female and intelligent. Of course she does make a lot of money in her role of foul-mouthed cross dresser. Maybe it's just all about money for you too?

Ah, yes...the money...The big bucks we bloggers rake in more than makes up for all the long hours, Fred! We suppose the secret must now be out! That donations button is a big fat cash cow, baby!!! And thanks for giving us another excuse to link to it since O'Reilly was late sending his check again this month! That bastard... (Just kiddin', Bill! Who loves ya, baby?! See ya at the big Loofah Convention next month in Akron!)

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It may set a good example...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2004 2:07am PT  

It's incredible to be saying it again four years later, but here we go again.

Fox "News" pulled the rope-a-dope. After laying back all night and calling most of the close states about an hour later than everyone else, they threw one good sucker punch at 12:41am ET. While folks were still, apparently, in line voting in Ohio --- where some some precincts were reported having to stay open to accomodate voters until 1am ET --- Fox called Ohio for Bush. Drudge quickly followed, announcing "BUSH WINS" with siren, and the storyline of the night and the morning papers was set. Before the votes were counted. Just as in 2000.

Though clearly I'm disappointed that my predictions of a decisive Kerry victory and a Democrat Senate majority have not come to pass, I am pleased to see that the Dems have promised this time to make all attempts to ensure that every vote gets counted. I think that's a fine idea for the world's oldest and most important Democracy.

Of note, in 2000, the GOP proved rather unimpressed with the fact that Gore received the majority of the Popular vote, arguing instead that only the Electoral vote mattered.

They were correct in that at the time. Like it or not, the Electoral College is our system. Though I wonder however, with the apparent if majority Popular vote this time, if they may come to regret that ardent 2000 position. Or if, as is their pattern, they'll soon begin claiming the "voice of the people has spoken" and develop their usual case of amnesia to "all that went before".

In 2000, Gore had the popular vote as the moral wind beneath his wings to press forward and request the counting of the ballots in Florida. Today, it seems, Kerry may not have the Popular vote in his favor. But he does have Bush's own disregard for that Popular vote in 2000 beneath his wings which he would be correct to remind folks about as he makes his case to continue until an acccurate Electoral vote can be determined.

Additionally, it seems a reminder is in order that it was the Bush campaign who brought a lawsuit to the Supreme Court to challenge the counting of ballots in Florida. It was not those "litigious Democrats" as they seem to enjoy inferring. Again, with disregard to facts, history, and all of the pesky truths from the Reality-Based World.

I'll need more time, of course, to make full sense of exactly what happened in America today, as it seems to me there's much more of this story still to come. Clearly, no matter what the final results, they are a good deal short of what I had hoped for and expected.

In short, however, if the numbers hold up, and if indeed Kerry loses, it will have been a sad, yet stark victory of Hate and Fear over Hope and Courage.

And at the shameful and dirty heart of it all...a case of good old fashioned American homophobia that will have won the day.

More details on that...and everything else, no doubt...in the days to come...after a few hours sleep.

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'Hannity & Colmes' Much Closer to Fair and Balanced Tonight!
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2004 7:47pm PT  

Well, your email paid off! As much, perhaps, as we could hope given that we're dealing with the Republican behemoth that is the Fox "News" Channel. So all in all, a job well done, guys! It pays to make noise and fight for your Democracy.

As originally reported here, the Hannity & Colmes show had announced on Friday that tonight's guests would be:

ON THE RIGHT: Karl Rove, Dick Morris, William Weld
ON THE LEFT: Bill Richardson

By the time tonight's show aired, Morris and Weld on the Right were dumped, and Terry McAuliffe added on the Left. Unfortunately, Jeb Bush (obviously on the Right) was added as well. Yet, on it's face, it appeared to be more "Fair and Balanced" as such:

ON THE RIGHT: Karl Rove, Jeb Bush
ON THE LEFT: Bill Richardson, Terry McAuliffe

Well, that looks more "Fair & Balanced", doesn't it? But here was the actual show breakdown (Right leaning segments bold)

SEGMENT 1: Jeb Bush
SEGMENT 2: Jeb Bush
SEGMENT 3: Bill Richardson
SEGMENT 4: Karl Rove
(Seg 4 Rove interview by Hannity only! Colmes not allowed!)

SEGMENT 5: Terry McAuliffe

Final tally was 3 segments with the Right (one that Hannity had all to himself) and only 2 segments with the Left.

As I've mentioned in the past, my source inside H&C tells me that they have a very difficult time getting the DNC and Kerry campaign to cooperate and give them guests for the show. The theory --- a mostly plausible one --- is that Fox is so far to the Right, the Dems feel they won't get a fair shake when they go on.

I share my sources belief, however, that it's foolish for the Dems to simply write off Fox "News" in the bargain.

Yes, of course they won't get a fair shake on Fox, but it's better to show up and represent as best they can than to allow Fox to overweight with Republicans, or worse, stick someone like Pat Cadell on there and call him a "Democratic Consultant" when he hasn't worked or supported any Democrats since, I believe, Jimmy Carter! Or have Susan Estrich on there --- who worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger! --- and call her a "Democratic Consultant".

Like it or not, more Americans watch Fox these days for political news than anybody else --- and it's not all hard right wingnuts. There are a lot of reasonable, normal, Left-leaning Americans that watch FNC as well! I'm certainly one of them! Frankly because it's not quite as dull as it's competition (who are only slightly less slanted to the Right these days). So it's imperative that Dems show up and at least fight on that turf to try anyway to partially balance Fox's constant imbalance.

If I hear from my source any plausible explanation as to why H&C still managed to skew things to the Right tonight, on Election Eve of all nights --- even though they had a seemingly even number of Democrats to interview --- I'll update this item.

Other than that, I'm without ammunition to defend it. So instead, I'll just leave you with this exchange from the end of the segment tonight with McAuliffe:

MCAULIFFE: Fair and balanced, baby!
HANNITY: Well, we let you on...that's about as fair and balanced as we can get.

I guess it is.

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Show is tonight! Election Eve!
Send Email NOW!!!
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2004 11:31am PT  

Hannity & Colmes now announcing that Jeb Bush is added to tonight's show!!!

See this article if you haven't already on the stacked deck they're getting ready to present tonight! (So far, 4 from the Right --- now including Rove, Morris and Jeb Bush --- and 1 from the Left!)

colmes@foxnews.com, Comments@foxnews.com, mm-tips@mediamatters.org, mm-actions@mediamatters.org, Write">TheBradBlog@cville.com\">Write those letters!!! Just a few hours left before airtime! Get the word out!

GOOD NEWS UPDATE: Just heard from my source: Terry McAullife now added to show for balance! Your letters are working! Keep it up! You are making a difference!!!

FINAL UPDATE: Victory (mostly)! Final lineup: 2 guests from the Right, 2 from the Left. But H&C managed incredibly to skew it to the right anyway. Click here to read how.

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MEDIA EMERGENCY!!!
Please Read and Take Action!
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2004 2:12pm PT  

SUNDAY UPDATE: My highly placed source inside H&C tells me your Emails are making a difference! Keep speaking up! Your voice matters! If you Democrat/Liberal/Progressives think it makes sense to simply write Fox off entirely, please see this.

It was announced at the end of Friday's Hannity & Colmes on Fox that their Monday (Election Eve) guests would be:

ON THE RIGHT: Karl Rove, Dick Morris, William Weld (UPDATE!) Jeb Bush just added!!!
ON THE LEFT: Bill Richardson

Obviously, this is anything but "Fair and Balanced" and on the eve of a national Election it's simply outrageous!

I have a highly placed source inside the Hannity & Colmes show who I've sent Email to complain about this, and I received back a similar response to the ones I usually receive from them on the lack of balance on H&C. Namely; the Kerry campaign is simply not as willing to help them by supplying guests as the Bush campaign is. (I wonder why!)

I have tried to explain to my source that it's Fox's and H&C's responsibility to ensure that their show is fair and balanced! Not the responsibility of the Kerry campaign or the DNC to ensure that!

No matter how much the Democrats wish (or do not wish) to supply top-level guests to H&C it is the responsibility of the news organization, and debate show --- which claims to offer "Fair and Balanced" debate from both sides --- to do everything they can to ensure that the American people whom they serve receive an equal representation from both sides!

Last week, for example, Hannity had half-hour one-on-one interviews first with George W. Bush and then again with Dick Cheney. After which, both Hannity and Colmes pointed out that they had invited Kerry and/or Edwards to enjoy the same, to which apparently they declined.

In lieu of Kerry or Edwards then, H&C should have given an equal amount of time to a Democratic representative --- any Democratic representative, if necessary! --- to do at least their best to try and offer balance, even if they were not able to get Kerry or Edwards themselves!

And now, on their Election Eve show, such sorry excuses are simply intolerable! Having three Republican guests --- two of them, Rove and Morris, who will likely be offered segments where no balancing Democrat representative is there to supply balance --- is beyond the pale on the final show before Americans go to the polls!

I've contacted MediaMatters.org about this issue in hopes that they can help make some noise about it. I hope you will do the same, as well as helping to spread this word, and contacting the people at Fox News and the Hannity & Colmes show with your opinions about this outrageous example of attempting to effect the Presidential Election on the nation's most-watched channel for Election news coverage on the night before the Election!

CONTACT...
Sean Hannity: hannity@foxnews.com
Alan Colmes: colmes@foxnews.com

FOX News Channel FOX News Channel:
1-888-369-4762
Comments@foxnews.com

Media Matters:
www.MediaMatters.org
Email

Click here to Email all of the above at once!

UPDATE: If you have any question where Hannity & Colmes --- the show that claims to offer "Fair and Balanced Debate" stands, see the front page of their website right now. Here's a screenshot. Note all three featured stories offered to readers: Interviews with Peggy Noonan (Conservative, Ronald Reagan's speech writer), George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

We've come to expect this from H&C by now, of course, but their Election Eve coverage is even more outrageous than on most days! And, certainly more important than just any old day of the week!

UPDATE 11/1/04: Hannity & Colmes now announcing that Jeb Bush is added to tonight's show!!!

GOOD NEWS UPDATE 11/1/04: Just heard from my source: Terry McAullife now added to show for balance! Your letters are working! Keep it up! You are making a difference!!!

FINAL UPDATE: Victory (mostly)! Final lineup: 2 guests from the Right, 2 from the Left! But H&C managed, incredibly, to skew it to the Right anyway. Click here to read how.

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Admitting Guilt
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2004 8:36pm PT  

If you've been following O'Reilly since his recent fall from pretend grace, you've probably noticed the side-effect as his troubles have smacked him back a few yards closer to reality. His once barely veiled dilligent Pro-Bush spin is now entirely out in the open. I guess he figures since everyone in America now knows what he sticks up his ass, why bother hiding who he supports in this election?

The only thing left for him to do is come out and say "I am going to vote for George Bush and will do anything I can to help him win". Other than that, a few minutes listening to his "Radio Factor" or suffering through the TV show make it clear that he's not even trying to hide his bias anymore.

Now that he realizes he will never get the John Kerry interview that only O'Reilly could make himself believe that he was entitled to, he's given up all pretense. Announcing on both radio show and TV today that George W. Bush is now going to win this election. If you listen to O'Reilly, it's now all over but the recounts.

Sure, he still gives lip service to some mythical "fairness" that he'd love us to believe that he and Fox offer, but you can tell that even he knows he's spinning. Next week, he promises, he's going to make up an interview with Kerry in lieu of getting a real one. That's "the most trusted name in news" for ya.

Tonight, he went out of his way to remind Juan Williams (who actually did get an interview with John Kerry) that it was "Fox News" who broke the Bush DUI story in the days prior to the 2000 election. That, he claimed, showed all those Liberal Fox Haters how "faaaaair" FNC really is.

Too bad he's wrong about that too. It was not FNC, but a local Fox Affiliate (who does not work for FNC in NY) who broke the story. He and Brit Hume, however, have been going out of their way to pass off that particular fiction for quite some time.

In non-fiction related O'Reilly news, his evil nemesis, the much funnier-on-purpose Al Franken, once again beat the "Radio Factor" in the latest NY Arbitron radio ratings, as reported by Drudge. That despite No Spin Boy's repeated assertions on the air over the past year about "Stuart Smalley's failed little radio show". Please stop! I'm dizzy from all that No Spinning!

But apparently there's some things even O'Reilly can't spin his way out of. That seems to be his, as of yet, uncontested guilt in the Andrea Mackris Sexual Harrasment case. His silly cries of "extortion" in his pre-emptive suit against her didn't bother to deny any of her charges. And yesterday's "Radio Factor" featured this moment that should haunt him for a while, as caught by the always vigilant Media Matters (audio here):

CALLER: One quick thing. My money's on your side in this unfortunate lawsuit you're going through.

O'REILLY: Well, thank you. I appreciate that.

CALLER: You gotta take Sister Mary Peters with you when you're with single women.

O'REILLY: Listen, I have to say this --- I had to protect my family, this is my fault. I was stupid, and I'm not a victim, but I can't allow certain things to happen. And I appreciate your support, we get thousands of letters, but I'm not --- I am stupid. I am a stupid guy, and every guy listening knows how it is. That we are very stupid at times.

But there comes a time in life where you gotta stand and fight. And I knew these people were gonna do this, I knew they were gonna do everything they could to try to destroy me and the channel. And I just made the decision that I'm just gonna ride it out. And I'm gonna fight 'em, because what's right is right.

Trademark false machismo and bloviation aside...Since he's now all but come out and admitted guilt in the matter, what exactly are the "certain things" he "can't allow" to happen? "What's right is right?" - What the hell is he talking about? He's a married man, with "kids", admitting to making obscene phone calls, while servicing himself with a vibrator, to an underling employee of his. Is he implying that if she'd asked for a few million less, that would have made it all "right"? But since she didn't, he's "gonna fight 'em, because what's right is right?" Apparently so. Just as he forced Fox to file their embarrasing law suit against Franken which was quickly laughed out of court, again he has allowed his over-inflated ego to back him into a No Spin Corner from hell.

But hey, sex scandals with prostitutes didn't seem to hurt tonight's O'Reilly's Fair and Balanced guest Dick Morris, much! Neither did millions in secret gambling losses cause too terribly much shame for Hannity & Colmes' featured weekly guest, William Bennet, just a few minutes later. So perhaps O'Reilly will survive this as well. After all, in the fairy tale Land of Fake Conservatism, "Values" is just a word cynically pulled out every few years to help win elections. Don't make the Red State mistake of thinking these people actually have any.

Perhaps you can fool about 48.9% of the people (MoE 3-4%) all of the time.

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A Fair and Balanced Look at Sexual Harassment charges against Bill O'Reilly
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2004 2:17pm PT  

Hubris is a funny, yet often predictable, thing. Last February on this blog, I asked:

Any idea what the coming Fall of O'Reilly will be? Live boy? Dead girl? Married to his own mother?

Well, it looks like I was wrong. His downfall is a Live Girl. Looks like there may be several of them at that. I was close anyway.

Though I know that these charges have not yet had their day in court, that never stopped Fox News from covering similarly unsubstantiated charges against their political enemies like Bill Clinton or CBS or others (Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson etc.) so I see no reason why turnabout isn't fairplay.

To that end, I've been reviewing O'Reilly's pre-emptive complaint filed this morning, and his accusers complaint also filed today. I will be updating you shortly after I've finished reviewing the materials, but for the moment, I'd say things don't look too good for Mr. No Spin. I'll explain why in an follow-up shortly after I've finished my review.

For the moment though, O'Reilly has the upper hand with three hours of national TV and Radio per day on which to make he's case, and he already began to do so at the beginning of his radio show this morning. As well, he has the enormous resources of the Fox News and Newscorp legal team and their friends in the powerful body politic that will undoubtedly use every resource to defend him as long as possible.

To that end, consider this passage from the Plaintiff's complaint which quotes O'Reilly at a dinner meeting:

"If you cross FOX NEWS CHANNEL, it's not just me, it's [FOX President] Roger Ailes who will go after you. I'm the street guy out front making loud noises about the issues, but Ailes operates behind the scenes, strategizes and makes things happen so that one day BAM! The person gets what's coming to them but never sees it coming. Look at Al Franken, one day he's going to get a knock on his door and life as he's known it will change forever. That day will happen, trust me."

During the course of this conversation, Defendant BILL O'REILLY bizarrely rambled further about Al Franken: "Ailes knows very powerful people and this goes all the way to the top." Plaintiff queried: "To the top of what?" Defendant responded: "Top of the country. Just look at who's on the cover of his book [Bush and Cheney], they're watching him and will be for years. [Al Franken's] finished, and he's going to be sorry he ever took FOX NEWS CHANNEL on."

For those just jumping in, further info on Roger Ailes is here. There is reason to believe the quotes above may have been tape recorded, and thus, available soon. More on that later.

In the meantime, as you see above, O'Reilly, Fox and Friends will have a huge PR and Power advantage in this case. I, however, will be looking out for you. Stay tuned as we help you decipher from the facts from the spin.

DEVELOPING...

Related BRAD BLOG Updates on this story:
10/13/04: "Bad Vibrations for Bill O'Reilly"
10/14/04: "O'Reilly - In Our Unresolved Problem Segment..."
10/19/04: "O'Reilly - In the Personal Story Segment Tonight..."
10/20/04: "O'Reilly's Case Gets Weaker: Mackris files additional charges."

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