Monday, November 16, 2009
Hold Glenn Beck, Fox, and News Corp Accountable
Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox News Channel's parent company News Corp, said he agrees with Glenn Beck's statement that President Obama is "a racist" -- a clear sign that Fox's problems with race start at the very top.
Now that he's been called out and the spotlight is squarely on him, Murdoch says he doesn't agree with Beck, but he won't denounce Beck's rhetoric either.
It's time to force the conversation, publicly. Murdoch can stand by the fact that he supports Glenn Beck's race-baiting; or he can tell us why he doesn't and what he's going to do about it.
We can hold Beck, Fox, and News Corp accountable. It starts by demanding Murdoch answer a few simple questions. Please add your voice now.
Stop Glenn Beck's race baiting
Fox's Glenn Beck recently said President Obama is "a racist" and has a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Beck is on a campaign to convince the American public that President Obama's agenda is about serving the needs of Black communities at White people's expense. It's repulsive, divisive and shouldn't be on the air.
Join ColorOfChange.org in calling on Beck's advertisers to stop sponsoring his show.
Add your voice now.
80 companies have stopped their ads from appearing on Glenn Beck's show--click here for the full list.
Oh, and in case you need a refresher course in the creepy, twisted worldwide of Beck, go here for a few examples of his NeoNazi ramblings.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Bill O'Reilly Continues To Lie About His "Humble" Roots
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has long maintained that he came from humble, working-class roots.
In his interview Wednesday with Hillary Clinton, O'Reilly once again displayed his "I'm just a regular working stiff" persona and reminded viewers that he grew up in Levittown, a working-class suburb of New York City.
Indeed, O'Reilly's bio on the Fox News Web site continues to claim that O'Reilly came from "from humble beginnings" and that he "lived in a modest house with his father, mother and sister in the Westbury section of Levittown."
"You don't come from any lower than I came from on an economic scale," O'Reilly once claimed.
Indeed, in his interview with Clinton, O'Reilly regularly trotted out the phrase "the folks," as though he knows what's on the minds of ordinary working-class Americans. It's a gimmick often used by Rush Limbaugh and George W. Bush, as well. Which is ironic, because all three men are immensely wealthy. For example, O'Reilly makes an eye-popping $9 million a year.
O'Reilly has previously pointed out that his father, who retired in 1978, never made more than $35,000 a year. It's a misleading and dishonest claim though that this made the O'Reilly family's circumstances "humble." As the media watch group FAIR has pointed out, O'Reilly's father's income is actually equivalent to over $90,000 today in inflation-adjusted dollars.
And as Media Matters has noted, the median income for a U.S. household today is $48,451. Which means O'Reilly's father earned almost double the nation's household median income. Hardly "working-class."
Of course, O'Reilly is hardly alone among millionaire media celebrities in being clueless about the lives of real ordinary working Americans these days. After all, during a Jan. 5 Democratic debate ABC's Charlie Gibson claimed that families making $200,000 a year are "middle-class."
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Montel Williams For President
God, it was satisfying to see talk show host Montel Williams offer a few moments of sanity and honesty to the sick, sad 24/7 parade of fluff/junk food news/jingoism/GOP propaganda over at the Fox News Channel.
The lobotomized talking heads at Fox just wanted to chat about Heath Ledger, but Montel, a former Marine, stunned everyone by bringing up the subject that no one at Fox wants to discuss: the ongoing, senseless slaughter of our troops in Bush's immoral, illegal war in Iraq. (Needless to say, Williams lost his job after this segment).
Williams would certainly be a vast improvement over the GOP crooks and the gutless Dem wimps that are "serving" the people in Washington. I wonder how the right-wing Kool-Aid fringe blogs will spin this story.
Monday, August 20, 2007
How Fox News Blew Its Chance To Go Beyond Preaching To The Choir
At first glance, the Fox News Channel appears to be a big success these days. Since launching in 1996, Fox has come out of nowhere to lead the pack in cable news ratings.
To the delight of conservatives, Fox News pumps out a GOP-friendly message 24 hours a day across America. Between Fox News, Drudge and HateWing radio, Republicans have a variety of outlets these days to spread the word.
I hate to rain on Fox News' parade, but there is still one major nagging problem with this "news" channel's efforts to get out the GOP message.
That is: Fox News long ago blew its chance to be a credible news source.
Oh sure, Fox News is the gospel truth to the dwindling 29 percenters who still support Bush.
But to the rest of America, Fox News is increasingly seen as a joke these days.
The fact is, Fox News is simply preaching to the choir these days. And, as the GOP has increasingly lost its luster since 2000, it's clear that Fox is going to have a smaller and smaller choir to preach to in coming years.
Simply preaching to the choir is clearly not what Rupert Murdoch had in mind when he launched Fox News. But in order to go beyond that limited audience, Murdoch needed to build Fox as a news outlet that at least had the appearance of being credible.
Really, what Fox News should have done from the beginning is work hard to build its credibility image. Then, it could have effectively sneaked the partisan GOP content in occasionally through the back door. That, in turn, would have led to a winning of hearts and minds across America.
But Fox News blew it when it completely ignored the issue of credibility and instead just rammed through blatant GOP viewpoints to its audience 24 hours a day.
Liberals often fret that Fox News is nothing more than an outlet for GOP propaganda. But that dignifies what Fox is actually doing. Truly effective propaganda subtly changes people's minds without them even realizing that they're being propagandized.
That's clearly not the case with Fox News. Few people's minds are being changed by the heavy-handed GOP sludge pumped out by Fox News these days. And to Liberals and Independents (and indeed, the vast majority of clear-thinking rational adults) Fox News is nothing more than a joke these days.
What has to be most troubling to Fox News is the fact that credibility is by far the most valuable asset that a news outlet can have these days. And once you've blown your credibility, it's really pretty much impossible to ever get it back. The latter is especially true these days when watchdog sites like Media Matters are only a mouse click away.
The ironic thing is, if Fox News had strived for at least the appearance of credibility from the beginning, it would today be a much more effective tool for spreading the GOP's message. Instead, I would suspect most Americans will never take Fox News seriously again.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Threats In The Blogosphere: How Credible Are Michelle Malkin's Claims?
Possibly more than any other writer on the Web, right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin constantly refers to all the hate mail and threats she receives. In the eyes of her followers, this has enhanced her reputation and made her into a sort of right-wing hero for the truth, in her ongoing battle against liberals.
There's only one problem. Malkin isn't exactly the most reliable and trustworthy writer online. Frankly, I don't trust anything she writes.
The latest round of Malkin's claims of hate speech and threats began recently when Fox News' Bill O'Reilly compared the liberal Daily Kos to the Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan.
O'Reilly based his tirade on a tiny, cherry-picked handful of anonymous comments left on Daily Kos (a site with millions of daily visitors, all of whom are free to post comments).
Blogger Glenn Greenwald, among others, responded to O'Reilly's lunacy, pointing out that if you go to the site of Malkin (a frequent guest host on O'Reilly's program) you'll encounter loads of vile hate speech in her comments section. In Malkin's case, however, this really shouldn't be surprising. After all, as Greenwald notes, Malkin once wrote a book "defending the ethnicity-based imprisonment of innocent American citizens in internment camps."
In response to Greenwald's charges, Malkin has fallen back on a tactic that she's used before: she trots out the claim that she herself has been the victim of all kinds of terrible, violent hate speech and threats.
As she wrote in a July 26 piece:
"If you're going to get into it, the qualitative difference between blog comments on liberal blogs and my blogs is Grand Canyon-wide."
I really don't believe anything that Malkin writes and frankly I have doubts about her claims of getting inundated with hate speech and threats.
Am I saying that Malkin and other right-wing bloggers basically make up anonymous comments to try to make liberals look bad?
Well, not necessarily. But I wouldn't put it past any right-wing site. And I simply don't believe that liberals are posting hate speech, or violent threats, on right-wing sites.
The fact is, we liberals don't do hate speech. We don't do racism. In fact, we're not big on threats or violence in general.
Hell, we're from the party of Jimmy Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, for God's sake. It's hard to imagine George W. Bush ever winning a Nobel Peace Prize.
I know a lot of liberal Democrats. And I know a lot of conservative Republicans.
And frankly, in countless conversations I've had over the years, I've never heard a liberal make any kind of serious threat of violence against anyone, period. Violence is not our thing, after all.
I mean, we're not the ones who adore and cherish guns. We're not the ones who always throw a hissy fit when our paranoid little brains become convinced that the government is going to kick in our doors and take away our precious firearms. We're not the ones who demand the right to completely unrestricted access to guns (so that we can violently overthrow the U.S. government if we ever decide that we disagree with it).
Frankly, we're not big on guns, period. We'd rather solve our differences with reason and logic and rational debate.
I'm not sure where all these violent, hate-spewing bigots are coming from who supposedly post comments on Malkin's site. But if these are genuine comments, they're definitely not being posted by liberals.
By contrast, the right-wing hate-spewing comments that Greenwald references in his article sound EXACTLY like the sort of stuff I've been hearing FIRST-HAND from numerous self-described Republicans over the years. And in my conversations with fellow liberals over the years, I can tell I'm not alone.
I have heard, on numerous occasions, self-described Republicans advocating violence again Democratic politicians and liberals in general. I've heard them advocate violence against African-Americans. I've heard them say that America ought to "nuke the shit" out of the Middle East. And I heard them laugh during the Hurricane Katrina crisis, making comments like "Who cares? It was just a bunch of fucking niggers who drowned."
And on and on and on.
These are comments from self-described, George W. Bush-supporting Republicans that I've heard first-hand over the years. And I'm not alone. I've heard other progressives describe similar accounts of hate speech and violence-tinged rhetoric that they're heard first-hand from Republicans.
We're not talking about anonymous comments on a Web site here. We're talking about people we've listened to in person, first-hand---be it someone we encountered in the line at the supermarket, or our crazy right-wing uncle who spewed his venom during Thanksgiving dinner.
Over the years, I've had many discussions with liberals on every topic under the sun. And I have to say: I don't believe I've ever heard a liberal seriously advocate violence against anybody.
I've known a lot of bigots over the years. I've known a lot of people who threatened to use violence. And I've known a lot of racists.
True, not all of them were Republicans. But many were. And NOT ONE of them was a liberal Democrat.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Fox News Attacks Liberal Blogs
As Fox News' Bill O'Reilly said, "This is vicious, hateful stuff"
Oh, and while we're on the topic of "vicious, hateful" speech:
"Oh, you're one of the sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage. You have got nothing to do today, go eat a sausage and choke on it."
Right-wing radio talkshow host Michael Savage
"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."
Right-wing commentator Ann Coulter
The debate over Bill Clinton should be about "whether to impeach or assassinate."
"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it."
Right-wing CNN commentator Glenn Beck
"I wanted to bludgeon her with a tire iron."
Right-wing commentator Michael Graham (speaking about Hillary Clinton).
"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this (the 9/11 terror attacks) happen.'"
Right-wing pastor Jerry Falwell
Oh, and one other note: the comments above were all made by famous, celebrity right-wingers, many of whom frequent Fox News. By contrast, the inflammatory blog content that Fox News focuses on are anonymous comments posted on liberal blogs.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
How Did America's Founding Fathers Feel About Christmas?
"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
---Thomas Jefferson, in an 1823 letter to John Adams
This holiday season, Fox News and the rest of the nation's right-wing echo chamber have decreed that "the war on Christmas" is one of the biggest issues facing America.
Silly me, and here I was thinking that perhaps the disastrous war in Iraq was the biggest issue facing us.
Self-appointed "moral watchdogs" like Bill O'Reilly want to put the "Christ" back into Christmas and restore the holiday to its supposed proper place in our nation's history as a religious observance. Anyone familiar with O'Reilly's work knows that he is the appropriate moral figure to make such a call.
O'Reilly's 1998 novel, Those Who Trespass, for example, is filled with Christian-inspired wisdom and moral clarity. It includes such heart-warming scenes as a 15-year-old prostitute who smokes crack cocaine and performs fellatio.
In a sense, I share some of Fox's appreciation of Christmas. I think it can be indeed a special day to Christians and I really would like to see it designated as a holiday in which every non-emergency worker gets to take off and spend time with his or her family.
This last point is particularly important to me. The Republicans, after all, have always ferociously fought against any government regulation requiring that businesses give time off to their employees. The U.S., after all, is alone in the First World in not requiring the private sector to give any vacation time to workers.
So, as someone who was required by my private sector employer to work every Christmas for 15 years, I would indeed like to see Christmas made into a holiday that everyone can enjoy (not just government employees like Bush).
However, someone needs to send a memo to the Fox News talking heads regarding the true place of Christmas in our nation's history. The fact is, Christmas was nothing special to our nation's Founding Fathers.
This uncomfortable fact would lodge like a lump of coal in the throats of America's right-wing (if only they were aware of it in the first place). Conservatives in this country are always busy painting the Founding Fathers as devout Christians. However, any serious historian will tell you that the Founding Fathers were in fact not Christians.
Nor was Christmas particularly important to our Founding Fathers (or the nation as a whole). The U.S. government didn't even recognize Christmas as a holiday until 1870. Until then, Congress routinely met and conducted business on Christmas day. It was, in fact, just another workday.
Truth be told, Christmas was a totally different affair during the first century of America's history. It was far removed from today's holiday in which families gather and open presents around the Christmas tree.
So how did one celebrate Christmas back in those days? Well, typically, you might start off the day getting blindingly drunk. Then, you'd take to the streets and approach passer-by and demand money from them. If they refused, you'd beat them up. You might conclude the day by smashing some store windows or breaking into people's homes and stealing their food. Peruse a newspaper from the 1820s and you can routinely read of such chaotic yuletide lawlessness.
In the early part of the 19th century, Christmas was, as one historian once noted, "like a nightmarish cross between Halloween and a particularly violent, rowdy Mardi Gras." In fact, a massive Christmas riot in 1828 led to the formation of New York City's first police force.
Indeed, newspapers of the era are filled with disturbing accounts of what Christmas was really like in those days: widespread rioting, sexual assault, vandalism, drunkenness, street violence and general lawlessness. Most of these "traditions" were carried over from Europe, where, dating back to the Middle Ages, Christmas had been regarded by the wealthy classes as a safety valve for releasing the peasants' pent-up frustrations.
Christmas as we know it today didn't really take root until the 1870s. In fact, the holiday as we know it today was invented by middle-class merchants in the late 19th century, primarily as a gimmick to increase sales. In this respect, Christmas hasn't changed much since then.
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