Monday, November 28, 2011

Fox News: Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Bill O'Reilly

Sean Hannity

Greta Van Susteren

Shepard Smith

Niel Cavuto

Mike "Fried Squirrel" Huckabee

Chris Wallace

Brit "Hound Dog " Hume

Fox & Friends

"Food Product" Megyn Kelly

A. E. Newman

There is a disturbing tendency in our national media to equalize everything having to do with the two major political parties in the United States. The Mainstream Media's Misguided Obsession With "Objectivity," as Bhaskar Sunkara, the editor for Jacobin Magazine put it in his article.
For instance, just after it was announced that the so-call "supercommittee" could not come to a bipartisan agreement to locate areas in the national budget to cut, and enact revenue increases in order to lessen the deficit by some 1.2 trillion dollars over ten years, the corporate (mainstream?) media reported that both sides, the Republicans and the Democrats had equally failed in their task.
Well that's just not true. Even with just a cursory glance at the situation the simple facts that the Republicans were intractable in regards to not allowing revenue increases in the form of tax increases for the wealthiest among us, on the table. Not at all! This is nothing new. They've done the same thing over and over again. The very same thing! It's always the same thing... no tax increases for the wealthy even though their taxes are at the lowest point since the 1950s. Their pledge to ass-hat Grover Norquist, and pressure from their Tea Bagger base (if that is indeed their base. The Republicans may be bowing to a small faction of their real base, which may come to haunt them come 2012 election time).
So, the Republickans idea of bipartisanship remains "we give nothing, you give everything... or we'll take all the toys and go home." And I'm not exaggerating. Often when I watch the Repubs at work on C-SPAN I feel like I'm watching an episode of Romper Room, or Sesame Street.
Be that as it may, the "mainstream" media blames both sides when it is often very clear one side is mainly at fault (the Republicans). They tend to ignore the facts, or don't delve into the subject with any depth, or ignore President Obama when he clearly identifies the culprits, their actions and motives. You have a large powerful political party whose leaders stated goals are to limit the President to one term above all other considerations, and the national media doesn't take that into account.
This type of behavior has spilled over to to news programs that pit Republican pundits with Democratic pundits, who battle it out with little regard for discovering the truth behind the questions of the moderator. Why? That would be just too much work, and television hosts don't really want to offend any particular side as they are afraid of losing access to, I don't know... whoever. The host of NBC's Sunday morning program, Meet The Press, David Gregory, has openly stated it's not his job to fact check the various guests he has on the program. Apparently it's his job to just ask pointed questions and allow his guests to spew out whatever garbage they want to without fear of consequence.
This is not journalism. "Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience." -Wikipedia. To investigate and inform, which implies seeking the truth and reporting it.
The Fox Propaganda Network, which some misguided people call Fox News, is the most popular "news" cable network currently operating in the United States. That's a shame. It says a lot about our country.
So does this:
"As of January 2011, the Democratic Party-affiliated Public Policy Polling reports that Fox News Channel is the second-most trusted television news network in the country, with 42% of respondents reporting they trust the network, compared to other major news channels (behind PBS which stands at 50%, and ahead of NBC at 41%, CNN at 40%, CBS at 36%, and ABC at 35%). Simultaneously, Fox News Channel is also ranked the most distrusted news channel in the country, with 46% of respondents reporting they distrust the network (behind PBS at 30%, NBC at 41%, and CNN, CBS, and ABC each at 43%)."
Why would anyone distrust Fox News? A news organization... ideally... is supposed to be an impartial entity that reports the news impartially. That's the definition of reporting.
But Fox doesn't do that.
“Fox News often operates as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party,” said Anita Dunn, the former White House Director of Communications.
I have to agree. And most everybody else does too! It is hardly a secret that Fox, owned and operated by hacker Rupert Murdoch, and operated by former NBC exec Roger "Human Saggy Balloon" Ailes displays a marked conservative bias. It not only displays a marked conservative bias, it also actively promotes and advertises conservative ideas and events, the formation of the Tea Baggers being a prime example.
Well MSNBC does the same for the left, liberal, progressive side, I hear you saying. And you would be absolutely right in saying that. But there's a major difference between the two. Or differences.
MSNBC's liberal bent is in direct response to the rights domination of the media, through talk radio to the Fox Propaganda Network.
MSNBC does not promote propaganda, but reports, as best it can as far as I can tell, in an unbiased fashion. Yes, I can hear all of you right wingers laughing your ass off at my last statement, but your laughter rings hallow because deep down you know I'm right.
And most importantly, MSNBC, and most other networks other than Fox use what are known as "facts." Pieces of realty that can be independently verified by multiple sources. Fox doesn't bother with these things. Facts give Fox a big headache, because, well, facts most often do not promote the untenable positions that Fox often wishes to promote, for instance like Newt Gangrich would be a good president. If facts do not support Fox's position or world view Fox tosses them out and spews forth what are called... lies.
Fox "News" has a marked tendency to misinform their own audience. And they get away with it each and every day.
"Through clever use of the Fox News Channel and its cadre of raucous commentators, Ailes has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists since World War II. Yet, many members of my profession seem to stand by in silence as Ailes tears up the rulebook that served this country well as we covered the major stories of the past three generations, from the civil rights revolution to Watergate to the Wall Street scandals." -New York Times editor Howell Raines
Attitudes have changed in recent years which allow this type of behavior from a major "news" organization. I believe this is due in large part to the media being controlled largely by major corporations, like News Corp, or Disney, or National Amusements, or General Electric, which tend not to concern themselves very closely with little things like ethics, or public opinion. And since the media is controlled by these corporate entities dissension is controlled by them as well (this type of "fuck you, we're going to do whatever we want" attitude has also spilled out into other areas, our judicial system being a case in point. Some of our Supreme Court Justices who will remain nameless (Thomas and Scalia) think it's perfectly acceptable to attend social functions for businesses and political factions that they may have to rule on in the future without recusing themselves. This type of behavior is without precedent. But what would you expect from a court that gave us Citizens United?)
But Fox stands out among the rest. As I stated, Fox tends to misinform their viewers in order to promote their political agenda. The lovely organization, Media Matters, which some at Fox have demonized as some kind of terrorist organization simply because it reports back on exactly what some at Fox have said or done, verbatim (that's all they do. That's all they've ever done. But Fox doesn't like that) has documented this point repeatedly.
Anyway, here's some examples of how Fox may... bend the truth (lie):

On climate change: "A new study confirms that Fox News systematically paints a distorted picture of climate change, with the effect of worsening political polarization. Published by The International Journal Of Press/Politics, the study examined primetime cable news broadcasts from 2007 and 2008, and found that Fox "discussed climate change most often," but "the tone of its coverage was disproportionately dismissive... Fox broadcasts were more likely to include statements that challenged the scientific agreement on climate change, undermined the reality of climate change, and questioned its human causes... An internal email revealed, Fox's Washington managing editor Bill Sammon directed Fox journalists in December 2009 to cast doubt on the basic fact that the planet has warmed... Fox has also tried to manufacture a number of pseudo-scandals by distorting climate science research, misrepresenting or disavowing the temperature record, and seizing on any opportunity to distract from what the National Research Council has called "a strong, credible body of evidence" supporting manmade climate change... Fox News is a loud, popular, and influential network that is reinforcing its viewers misconceptions about climate science. The study concluded that "to the extent that Fox News presents a different view of reality than does CNN or MSNBC, the knowledge and opinions of the networks' respective audiences will likewise tend to polarize."

Lowering taxes increases revenue says Fox... not really says everyone else (except the Tea Baggers and Republicans in Congress of course):
"If there's one thing that Republican politicians agree on, it's that slashing taxes brings the government more money. "You cut taxes, and the tax revenues increase," President Bush said in a speech last year. Keeping taxes low, Vice President Dick Cheney explained in a recent interview, "does produce more revenue for the Federal Government." Presidential candidate John McCain declared in March that "tax cuts ... as we all know, increase revenues." His rival Rudy Giuliani couldn't agree more. "I know that reducing taxes produces more revenues," he intones in a new TV ad.
If there's one thing that economists agree on, it's that these claims are false. We're not talking just ivory-tower lefties. Virtually every economics Ph.D. who has worked in a prominent role in the Bush Administration acknowledges that the tax cuts enacted during the past six years have not paid for themselves--and were never intended to. Harvard professor Greg Mankiw, chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers from 2003 to 2005, even devotes a section of his best-selling economics textbook to debunking the claim that tax cuts increase revenues." -Time, 12/6/07
Paul Krugman, After Reagan's 1981 Tax Cuts, "Revenues Are Permanently Reduced Relative To What They Would Otherwise Have Been." In a July 2010 post on his New York Times blog, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote that "the revenue track under Reagan looks a lot like the track under Bush: a drop in revenues, then a resumption of growth, but no return to the previous trend." He added, "This is exactly what you would expect to see if supply-side economics were just plain wrong: revenues are permanently reduced relative to what they would otherwise have been." -The New York Times, 7/15/10
Economic Policy Institute: Bush Tax Cuts "Added $2.6 Trillion To The Public Debt Over 2001-10." In a September 26 article, Andrew Fieldhouse of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) wrote: A spending-cuts-only approach is regressive in that it forces the brunt of deficit reduction on the backs of poor and working families while ignoring a prime culprit of the budget deficit: the expensive, ineffective, and unfair Bush-era tax cuts. These top-heavy tax cuts added $2.6 trillion to the public debt over 2001-10 and will add $3.8 trillion to deficits over the next decade if fully continued." EPI, 9/26/11. On and on.

Kristol, O'Reilly Suggest That President Obama Has No Deficit-Reduction Plan.
Bill Kristol: "Where Is President Obama? ... Where's His Proposal?" From the November 21 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
BRET BAIER (host): "Do you buy that the Democrats were that united in their own proposal, going forward in the supercommittee, that it was actually a real deal?"
BILL KRISTOL: "Well, where was the Democratic proposal? The House Republicans passed a budget, the Paul Ryan budget, which would cut much more than 1.2 trillion. Senator Toomey put out a proposal, which we've seen a fair number about of the details of, which would have gotten to 1.2 trillion. Maybe I'm unaware of it, but is there a Democratic proposal that we've seen? Where is President Obama? He's up there, 'Oh, this is a disgrace. It's terrible, It's irresponsible.' Where's his proposal? Where's his proposal? I didn't notice him coming back from Asia, or not even -- or even before he went to Asia and saying, 'OK, here's how to do 1.2 trillion.' It's a total abdication of leadership on his part." -Fox News, Special Report, 11/21/11.
O'Reilly: "Where Is President Obama On Leadership? He Should Have Laid Out His Vision." From the November 21 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: "We, the people, well understand the chaos in Washington. The Democrats, generally speaking, want to spend. They often get elected by promising entitlement to minorities, to unions, to special interest groups. The Republicans want a much smaller government. They want to strangle what's in place now by denying it revenue. The GOP also wants President Obama out of there, so they are not likely to compromise much. In the meantime, little gets done. The debt grows larger, the economy weaker. And where is President Obama on leadership? He should have laid out his vision for spending cuts, but he didn't. In fact, he's MIA. Running around with the Indonesians, having fun in Bali. Meantime, Washington is collapsing. Mr. Obama should be showing leadership, demanding trillions in spending cuts." -Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 11/21/11.
In September, Obama Released the Plan "For Economic Growth And Deficit Reduction." Obama's plan assumes $1.2 trillion in savings from the Budget Control Act passed in August, and reduces the deficit by more than $3 trillion over the next decade:
"The Budget Control Act that I signed into law last month will cut annual Government spending by about $1 trillion over the next 10 years. It also charges the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in savings. As part of this jobs bill, I am asking the Congress to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act. In addition, I believe that the Congress should seize the opportunity that this new Committee presents and do much more so that we can put the country on a sustainable fiscal path, which is critical for our long-term economic growth and competitiveness.
For this reason, I am sending to the Congress this detailed plan to pay for this jobs bill and realize more than $3 trillion in net deficit reduction over the next 10 years. Combined with the approximately $1 trillion in savings from the first part of the Budget Control Act, this would generate more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. This would bring the Nation to the point where current spending is no longer adding to our debt and where our debt is no longer increasing as a share of our economy--an important milestone on the way to restoring fiscal discipline and moving us toward balance." Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future: The President's Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction,, September 2011.

Fox & Friends claimed that alleged White House shooter Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez had been "tied to [the] Occupy" movement, even calling him the " 'Occupy' shooter." In fact, investigators have reportedly "found no connection between him and the Occupy protesters."

Following a live report from New York City's Zuccotti Park in which protesters chanted "Fox News lies," Fox Business host Gerri Willis claimed that Fox is simply "trying to cover the story just like everybody else." However, Fox hosts and contributors have pushed lies, smears, and attacks about the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Such as:
"ACORN Playing Behind Scenes Role In 'Occupy' Movement." claimed that ACORN, which disbanded in November 2010, is playing a "behind [the] scenes role" in Occupy Wall Street. Fox alleged that the group New York Communities for Change (NYCC) -- which is led by a former ACORN official -- is paying people to join protests and collecting money to fund OWS activities.", 10/26/11.
Fox & Friends Promoted "We Are The 53 Percent." While Fox was baselessly claiming the Occupy Wall Street protesters do not pay taxes, Fox & Friends hyped a counter movement launched by CNN contributor and conservative pundit Erick Erickson, a website called, "We are the 53 percent." -Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/11/11.
Everybody pays taxes. If not income tax, then payroll tax, sales tax, Social Security Tax, on and on.
Special Report's Baier Claimed Protests Were Supported By Ayatollah Khamenei And Hugo Chavez. Special Report anchor Bret Baier claimed that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez "threw his support behind protesters" at Occupy Wall Street. A day later, he also claimed that the protests had "elicit[ed] support" from Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei. -Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 10/11/11.
These two have mentioned the OWS protests, but that hardly constitutes "support." And what difference would it make if they had?
"When the Associated Press reported on October 20, 2004, that Iran had endorsed President Bush for re-election, Special Report tried to discredit the claim two days later, according to Nexis transcripts."

Hannity Graphic Labeled Protesters "Lunatics Of The Left Wing." During the September 30 edition of Fox News' Hannity, an on-screen graphic aired while the co-hosts discussed the protests, reading, "Lunatics of the left wing."

On and on and on and on. For years this kind of crap has been going on (remember the Swift Boat Veterans for Lies... er, I mean Truth? Fox may not have started these lying morons, but they sure as hell promoted them)

Last week another study ( ) conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University made the case that the more you watch Fox "News," the less you knew about the real world in which we live in. In fact it pointed out that those who don't watch any news programs at all know more about the real world we live in than Fox "News" viewers.
Media Matters: According to the new survey, Fox "News," is "very, very good at misinforming people. And it's very bad at reporting the news.
In other words: Propaganda? Yes. News? Not so much.
For example, people who watch Fox News, the most popular of the 24-hour cable news networks, are 18-points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government than those who watch no news at all..... Fox News watchers are also 6-points less likely to know that Syrians have not yet overthrown their government than those who watch no news."
This is hardly the only poll to come to the same, or similar conclusions:
--2009, health care reform. A NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found Fox fans were overwhelmingly misinformed about the proposed health care reform:
"In our poll, 72% of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants, 79% of them say it will lead to a government takeover, 69% think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and 75% believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly."
--2010, global warming. Stanford University, in conjunction with the National Science Foundation, released a report titled "Frequent Viewers of Fox News Are Less Like to Accept Scientists' Views of Global Warming."
It concluded:
"More exposure to Fox News was associated with more rejection of many mainstream scientists' claims about global warming, with less trust in scientists, and with more belief that ameliorating global warming would hurt the U.S. economy."
Furthermore, in December of last year "another study has been released proving that watching Fox News is detrimental to your intelligence. World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.
In eight of the nine questions below, Fox News placed first in the percentage of those who were misinformed (they placed second in the question on TARP). That’s a pretty high batting average for journalistic fraud. Here is a list of what Fox News viewers believe that just aint so:

91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
49 percent believe income taxes have gone up
63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts
56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout
38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP
63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)

The conclusion is inescapable. Fox News is deliberately misinforming its viewers and it is doing so for a reason. Every issue above is one in which the Republican Party had a vested interest. The GOP benefited from the ignorance that Fox News helped to proliferate. The results were apparent in the election last month as voters based their decisions on demonstrably false information fed to them by Fox News." -Mark Howard of News Corpse, "Study Confirms That Fox News Makes You Stupid."
And to be fair, for the purposes of full disclosure... Mr. Howard continued:
"By the way, the rest of the media was not blameless. CNN and the broadcast network news operations fared only slightly better in many cases. Even MSNBC, which had the best record of accurately informing viewers (emphasis mine), has a ways to go before it can brag about it."
Stupid, "Lacking or marked by lack of intellectual acuity." That's one definition.
When confronted with the results of this study, Chris Wallace, the Host of Fox News Sunday, just smiled that smarmy little smile of his that got Bill Clinton so pissed off, and went on as though that particular discussion just didn't matter. It was of little importance to him.
The facts seem to always be of little importance to Fox so-called News.
The sad part about this story is that the audience for Fox "News" do not seem to mind being lied to. They seem perfectly happy to be misinformed, and misinformed toward the goal of fulfilling the political agenda of Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Brothers, and other corporate interests, much to their own determent. Much against their own best interests.
Fox viewers are not only being misinformed... they are also being manipulated.
We'll discuss why people may be susceptible to this kind of manipulation soon.
But for now I hope it is of some small interest to them that they are.
And admitting that truth may be the first step to regaining some sense of direction, some sense of independence.
Not in a Republican and Tea Party fantasy, but in the real world. The world that matters. The world we and our children live in.

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