Fox Haters Week in Review!

It’s not often that our exposés of distortions and lies lead to the top...the very top. But that’s what happens in the latest jaw-dropping edition of Fox Haters Week in Review!

Around the Interwebs

We’ll start off with those clever devils at Media Matters. They went after Fox Nation for posting a headline deemed overly favorable to Chris Christie. But Chris Golas noticed that the offensive headline wasn’t written by Fox at all; in fact Fox Nation linked to an article from New Jersey Newsroom and softened their headline by adding a question mark. MM also went after the evil Gretchen Carlson again:

This morning on Fox & Friends, Gretchen Carlson told Rudy Giuliani that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano -- whom she had interviewed shortly before -- "refuses" to call the recent attempted car bombing in New York City "terror." Huh? The moment Carlson said this, words appeared on-screen that said, "Times Square Car Bomb...Napolitano: A 'Potential Terror Attack'":... She absolutely did not "refuse" to call it terror. She repeatedly told Fox & Friends she would "not rule out" terrorism,... the chyron's right and Carlson is wrong.

Here is the exchange from an interview just moments earlier where Napolitano is twice invited to call the incident terrorism:

DOOCY: The other key thing, Madam Secretary, is that this is terrorism, right?
NAPOLITANO: Well, it's certainly something that I would not rule out. don't know the derivation, you don't know their intent. But I would not rule that out.
DOOCY: Well, right. Clearly, the guy was trying to, if not kill people, scare people, which is terrorism.
NAPOLITANO: Well, and we do know that if that --you know, if the explosions had been properly done and ignited, that would have been quite a fireball in that particular area. It was not properly done, it was not effective.

Napolitano was asked twice to characterize it as terrorism, and twice she wouldn’t do so. What exactly was Carlson wrong about?

A big brouhaha this week over FNC’s rejection of an ad from VoteVets. The organization was quick to capitalize, claiming:

The only confusing thing here is why FOX News would reject an ad that calls on Congress to defund our enemies by finding new sources of energy.

A writer for Ad Week decided Fox is “right-wing” and rejected the ad because they don’t agree with its “political agenda”. And the ever-tendentious Oliver Willis also chimed in:

What kind of standards does advertising on Fox adhere to when it rejects VoteVets' work, yet has no problem at all running ads for Survival Seeds

For the ultimate in brainless buffoonery, our pals at NewsCorpse:

I think that what Fox may be concerned about is that this ad is from an organization of American veterans. It advocates enhancing domestic security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. It features unflattering pictures of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. These are three of the top bullet points right-wingers harp on in pursuit of their pseudo-patriotic Americism. The confusion that Fox is worried about is that their carefully trained viewers might wind up agreeing with these vets that our security is threatened by enriching our enemies in Iran and other unfriendly oil oligarchs. This ad could undo so much of Fox’s painstakingly hypnotic propagandizing.

None of these, and not even the VoteVets spokesman who blogged about it at HuffPo, bothered to mention that Fox News has been running VoteVets ads for years. In fact, in what must be a shock to Oliver Willis, Fox ran this ad that began in March 2010. It would probably befuddle the Corpsicles to learn that the March ad--still running on FNC as of last week--is from American veterans, it advocates reducing dependence on foreign oil, and tells viewers that our security is threatened by enriching our enemies. But NewsCorpse says Fox won’t allow its viewers to see such an ad. How can this be?

The lunatics at the asylum are always good for a laugh. Here is what they wrote on May 6:

What O'Reilly and Fox news have not reported is that Shahzad eventually had his rights read to him, but not until after he was questioned extensively...

While just one day earlier they wrote this:

Wiehl said this: "He started to talk and he confessed, then was given his Miranda rights and kept talking."

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Brodsky’s Blunders

Leave it to the newshounds to concoct a rambling, seemingly endless screed based on a falsehood. So it is that “guest blogger Auntie Em”, in her weekly incoherent attack on Glenn Beck, revives an old favorite--the dastardly edited “official transcripts”:

if you only read the official transcript, or if you only catch a clip or two, you would be forgiven for not realizing what a master Beck is at this. Let’s compare and contrast. OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT:... read what was left out of the official transcript."... Here’s where the program starts to diverge; almost from the very first words of the “the official,” far more antiseptic, “transcript.”...Official, often fake, Fox News transcript.

If you click any of the links provided to the “official transcript”, you may be surprised to find that they aren’t what “Auntie Em” says they are. Perhaps the first clue might be that the word “transcript” nowhere appears, let alone “official” transcript. There is no credit to Roll Call Inc, which produces transcripts for FNC and other news channels. You know, like there is with an actual transcript. You can sort of tell a real transcript because if you look really hard, you’ll see the word “transcript” at the top. What’s “fake” is the lie of calling Glenn Beck’s column a transcript when it clearly is not, just to create a phony controversy.

But all this sounds vaguely familiar. Haven’t we heard it somewhere before. Why yes we have, when another “guest blogger” (going by “Jonathan”) pulled the exact same trick. It must be one of those amazing, once-in-a-lifetime coincidences. Because otherwise, we’d have to suspect that “Auntie Em” is really just a cross-dressing “Uncle Jonathan”. And that’s couldn’t possibly be, could it?

Meanwhile Ellen Brodsky gave us this just today:

Unbalanced Line Up On Fox News Sunday...Fox News Sunday has the kind of "balance" I'm accustomed to seeing on Sean Hannity's "Great American Panel:" One pro-Obama spokesperson and two anti's. Senior White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan will be "balanced" by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y

It is passing strange that Ellen wasn’t up in arms last week, when the FNS guests were Secy Janet Napolitano, Secy Ken Salazar, and Senate candidate Marco Rubio. Wasn’t that an “unbalanced panel”? Brodsky was strangely silent. But back to today: if it’s Ellen you know you’re not getting the truth. First of all, Brennan, Lieberman, and King were not on a panel at all! Brennan was interviewed in segment one, Lieberman and King in segment two. Two segments with two opposing viewpoints: fair and balanced. What’s more, the Brennan segment was actually longer than the second one! Why doesn’t Brodsky tell you any of this? Because she never lets the truth get in the way of a good smear.

Gibbs Fibs

Ellen Brodsky and her biased bassets play a part in a troubling cotretemps that began at the White House itself. First comes Media Matters, who posts video of spokesman Robert Gibbs berating FNC’s Wendell Goler over comments made by Michael Brown on Neil Cavuto’s program. Yes, you might well ask why Goler should be attacked over something he had nothing to do with. Be that as it may, that’s what happened:

GIBBS: FEMA Director Brown under Katrina, intimated on FOX, and it wasn’t -- I will editorially say, didn’t appear to be pushed back on real hard -- that this spill was leaked on purpose in order for us to walk back our environmental and drilling decisions, and that the leak that we did on purpose got out of control and now is too big to contain.... your network put out the former FEMA director to make an accusation that the well had been purposely set off in order to change an offshore drilling decision.

The next day, guest blogger “Auntie Em/Uncle Jonathan” published their latest scoop about Fox:

White House Slaps Down Fox News During Press Briefing - And Fox Ignores It

Surprise, the post cites...Media Matters! And just like MM, the mongrels neatly avoid the donkey in the room: Gibbs isn’t telling the truth. Nowhere--not once--did Brown claim the spill was “leaked on purpose” or that the well “had been purposely set off”. Gibbs made that up! Now if the White House Press Spokesman lies about something, that might just be considered, oh, an interesting development? But not to MM and NH. Anyhow, back to the NH claim that Fox “ignored the incident”. That might have been just a teeny, tiny lie from the newspoodles. Because it was covered the same day it happened on Special Report. But how were the anti-Fox terriers supposed to know that? What, you expect them to actually watch Fox (so you don’t have to)?

It turns out Media Matters was on the case, and promptly posted about that report, ripping it as a “cover-up”. It didn’t take long for the pooches to spot that and--presto!--Ellen cooked up an amended version. Instead of the earlier falsehood that FNC “ignored” the story, it said Fox was engaging in a “cover up”. The very words used by MM! Whoda thunk it? Surprisingly, not one word about Gibbs falsifying what Brown said. And we’re still left wondering why the hounds need Media Matters to tell them what Fox airs. But wait, there’s more.

On May 5th Neil Cavuto’s “Common Sense” segment took aim at Gibbs. After running the clip of what Gibbs said (so much for the “Fox is trying to cover it up” theory!) Cavuto zeroed in on the utter falsity of the White House claims. Media Matters was quick to reply, offering a daring, if fatuous, argument--accusing someone of blowing up an oil well is no different from accusing them of being slow to react to an oil-well explosion:

Cavuto's entire pushback to Gibbs' criticism was that Gibbs inaccurately characterized Brown's remarks, but what Brown did say -- that the administration purposely delayed its response to the spill to maximize the damage for political gain -- isn't significantly different than if the administration had purposely caused the spill. Cavuto was making a distinction without a difference.

We are not making this up. MM is seriously alleging there is no difference between committing an act of domestic terrorism vs being slow to respond to an oil spill. This may be the most byzantine rhetorical knot the MMers have ever got entangled in, solely to attack Fox and defend a lie. So let’s move on to the next development: Bill O’Reilly defends Cavuto. And that didn’t sit well with MM either:

Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that "[Neil] Cavuto actually stuck up for the president during the interview" with former FEMA Director Michael Brown and concluded that the White House's objections to the interview were therefore "phony."

Which they were, because they were untrue. And like clockwork, just hours later, a Brodsky post appeared and said:

O’Reilly was just plain wrong when he said Cavuto "actually stuck up for" the president during the interview with Brown.

By this point Ellen has her parroting of Media Matters down to a fine art. And yet Cavuto did say this during the interview:

CAVUTO: [Obama] said early on he relied on reports coming out of BP, remember, when all those guys were injured and 11 went missing, that BP said that it had it relatively contained, and that those were the early reports he relied on. How is that different than the argument your former boss made that local authorities on the ground felt that, ahead of the disaster, things were relatively contained?

So Cavuto “never stuck up” for Obama? Don’t ask Brodsky to actually read the transcript, when Media Matters does both her viewing and her thinking for her. And then, after all this duplicity and mindless echo-chamber repetition, the unexpected happened. Gibbs, asked about the discrepancy between his charge and what Brown actually said, did an about-face. He wasn’t talking about Brown or Cavuto at all! He was referencing a couple of passing comments on Fox & Friends!

Oops. The mastiffs spent all that time convinced it was Brown. Media Matters twisted themselves into logical pretzels to claim that what Brown said was “no different” from what Gibbs alleged. And then Gibbs goes and spoils it all by revealing he wasn’t even talking about Brown! All that ludicrous hyperventilating from Brodsky and Brock over the wrong target!

One can only imagine how embarrassing this must be to MM and NH. Especially when Neil Cavuto took to the air a second time to point out that Gibbs was still not telling the truth about what was said. Media Matters just threw in the towel and sunk into an uncharacteristic silence on the matter. No article on how Cavuto was wrong for a second time. No post about Gibbs admitting he wasn’t talking about Brown. And, in another stunning coincidence, the same thing happened at newshounds. Not a word about Gibbs’s pulling the rug out from under their arguments. And nothing about Cavuto again nailing Gibbs.

What may be even more remarkable about this whole kerfuffle is that we have the federal government, in the person of the White House spokesman, hectoring a reporter over something someone said on a talk show...then telling the reporter to “call headquarters” to influence who gets interviewed! Is the role of the White House now to control who gets booked on Fox News? Has Gibbs never heard the phrase “chilling effect”?

Remember when Ari Fleischer suggested that people should “watch what they say”? Paul Krugman said this meant “patriotic citizens were supposed to accept the administration's version of events, not ask awkward questions”. The New York Times fretted over “muted” dissent, while Frank Rich declared it to be fear “being wielded as a weapon against Americans by their own government”. One author summed it up: “So much for the bill of rights”.

The uproar over Fleischer’s comment, which may have been little more than a call for civility, stands in stark contrast to the non-reaction to Robert Gibbs bullying a news organization to influence what they put on the air. And doing it with lies, no less! Is anyone going to write that story?

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