Wow. Just… wow.

The day I forced myself to watch three hours of FOX News, the one consoling thought going through my head was: “Hey, at least it can’t get any stupider.  I mean, they can only go up from here, right?”

Oh, to be able to go back in time and be that naive and innocent blogger again.

Ahem…

Boy, are Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney going to have egg on their face when they have to explain to their base why they favor giving tax breaks to those selfish amateur athletes that are using their anti-American superpowers to destroy our very way of life.

Fish me, FOX News is really, really terrible.  Honestly, if I were going to parody them, could I have come up with anything this good?

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145 thoughts on “Wow. Just… wow.

  1. I hate to have to do this, but I must defend FOX here. Gabby Douglas had the audacity to give glory to her God after her win, when her praises, thanksgivings, and initial supplications should have gone to the stars and stripes. FOX was right to call her out and question her patriotism.

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  2. Ambrose Bierce:

    PATRIOT, n. One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.

    PATRIOTISM, n. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

    In Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.

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  3. Soft anti-Americanism? I didn’t see either of those folks wearing so much as a flag pin.

    I also like the very clever response to the idea that the IOC told the US program to back off a bit on the gaudy nationalistic displays. Can’t be that. Nope. Because, well, US athletes are soft anti-Americanismists, you see.

    Facts don’t matter with these people. Fitting “facts” into a narrative, however, does. “Our problems remain epistemological.”

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  4. During the 2008 games, I was captivated by women’s gymnastics like I never was before. When rumors surfaced that China was using underage, ineligible athletes, I was curious, and a bit perturbed. When I took a good look at the girls and many of them didn’t seem to pass the “eye test”, I was angered. “That’s bullshit! They’re cheating! And since they’re the home country, nothing is going to be done about it!”

    As I thought more about it, I realize that I likely would have defended the US against the same allegations coming our way. “The paperwork says they’re the right age. Everyone grows at different rates, you can’t just look at someone and know how old they are, especially a teenager. You’re only hating on them because they’re winning.”

    This is a fairly normal thing to do in sports. You’re team is full of nasty dirty cheaters; my team is full of stalwarts of the community doing their damnest to win.

    But this was different. I was angry at China, as a country, and the Chinese people, and began ascribing all sorts of horrible things to them. “Well, you know how THOSE people are…” That sort of thing. It was not pretty.

    The Olympics seems to explicitly engender not just patriotism, but an ugly form of nationalism. And should we forget our nationalistic ugliness at home, we can count on the Fox guys to remind us of the appropriate times to foam at the mouth.

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    • But this was different. I was angry at China, as a country, and the Chinese people, and began ascribing all sorts of horrible things to them. “Well, you know how THOSE people are…” That sort of thing. It was not pretty.

      Exactly how I feel about the Dodgers.

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  5. As an added aside, I can’t believe when trying to piece together why people in the 1980s were so much more frothing over with Olympic nationalism, no one at FOX was able to think of the most obvious reason:

    The Olympics just haven’t inspired the passion they used to since the Cold War ended. It isn’t a big USA vs. The Soviets Festival any longer, which is a big reason most people tuned in to watch back then.

    This is a good thing.

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  6. I don’t get the over-the-top outrage at Fox here. The interviewer did a little piece about patriotism at the Olympics and interviewed a guy who answered in the affirmative for a showing of national pride. The interviewer asked all the right questions, playing the devil’s advocate. It’s a harmless little conversation about patriotism and the Olympics and appropriate shows of pride. I thought this was going to be some horrible, over-the-top display of Americanism, but what the guy said would be said by any citizen of any country in the Olympics, most likely. I don’t get it. If this is worst Fox does, then I’d say they are much less of a problem than MSNBC.

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    • I don’t detect outrage here; I detect instead amazement that this is something viewed as even worth discussing. Wearing a pink leotard is “soft anti-Americanism”? It’s worth discussing whether we need more “jingoism”? Does everything need to be dissected into a political statement and whether that statement is sufficiently conservative or liberal? Tod’s right – if one didn’t know otherwise, one would assume that this segment is an SNL parody of Fox News, not an actual Fox News segment.

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      • MarkT, looking at Friedersdorf’s actual direct quotes and dissection [below], it hardly seems worth the cyberink.

        http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/08/gabby-douglas-isnt-jingoistic-enough-for-fox-news/260720/

        Kinda dumb, doesn’t really move the meter. I’m not a big video fan for this reason. Absent direct quotes, the discussions are a lot more subjective and emotional.

        The comments Friedersdorf maintain that the discussion wasn’t directed at Gabby, but the athletes in general. True? I’m the office and can’t watch it.

        Tod’s own self-comment is relevant, that USA! isn’t what it was during the Cold War. But clumsy as they were, the discussants on Fox were not just making stuff up.

        What’s wrong with showing pride? What we’re seeing is this kind of soft anti-American feeling, that Americans can’t show our exceptionalism.

        goes to quite a number of easy-googlable scholarly articles pooh-poohing “American exceptionalism.” Goes to that study that the red, white and blue makes you more GOP.

        There’s also Obama’s “American exceptionalism” controversy, and also his declining to wear an American flag pin.

        http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/04/obamaflagpinlap.html/

        You may recall Obama removed the lapel flag pin last fall as something of a gesture of independence if you’re an Obama fan — or an act of defiant antiwar non-patriotism if you’re not.

        At the time Obama removed the pin, which most politicians had worn on their suit coats since 9/12 as a sign of patriotism, solidarity with 9/11 victims and their families and national support for American troops.

        However, when a sharp-eyed local ABC-TV reporter in Iowa asked him, half-jokingly, about it in October, Obama went on to explain seriously at some length:

        “You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin. Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest.

        “Instead, I’m going to try to tell….

        the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.”

        I don’t want to hit the links limit and get caught in moderation. Put charitably, outward displays of patriotism—jingoism, if you will—are a right-wing thing, and downplaying them [like Obama taking the pin off] is a left thing. And that’s where the discussion was coming from.

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        • A few things – first, “jingoism” and “patriotism” have always been two words with very different meanings and connotations, although the line between them can sometimes be blurry. This is the first time I’ve ever heard the former used in a non-perjorative manner, as if it were truly a synonym for patriotism.

          Second, the notion that American athletes are suddenly hiding their patriotism is just a preposterous claim to be making in the first place; where were these same complaints four years ago, when this picture was taken? http://www.watoday.com.au/news/gymnastics/nastia-breaks-chinese-hearts/2008/08/15/1218307213704.html

          Please know that I’m not going off of Conor’s post here, of which I was unaware until you linked them; I’m just going off of the video that Tod posted above.

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          • Yes, “jingoism” was unfortunate. These were the Fox 3rd-stringers, easy pickins. The other things I mentioned are valid and relevant:

            “What’s wrong with showing pride? What we’re seeing is this kind of soft anti-American feeling, that Americans can’t show our exceptionalism.”

            goes to quite a number of easy-googlable scholarly articles pooh-poohing “American exceptionalism.” Goes to that study that the red, white and blue makes you more GOP.

            There’s also Obama’s “American exceptionalism” controversy, and also his declining to wear an American flag pin.

            There’s more I didn’t go into because I figgered those examples would be ignored or pooh-poohed [they were], so what’s the use?

            I mean c’mon dude, it’s not the right who burn the flag. “Flag-waver” is a pejorative used by the left. There’s a here here.

            &c.

            http://www.wwlp.com/dpp/news/local/franklin/Controversy-over-child%27s-flag-drawing

            Not a big here here, mind you, but a real one.

            http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2011/07/20/shock-study-us-flag-only-boosts-gop

            “Just a brief exposure to an image of the American flag shifts voters, even Democrats, to Republican beliefs, attitudes and voting behavior even though most don’t believe it will impact their politics, according to a new two-year study just published in the scholarly Psychological Science.

            What’s more, according to three authors from the University of Chicago, Cornell University and Hebrew University, the impact had staying power.

            “A single exposure to an American flag resulted in a significant increase in participants’ Republican voting intentions, voting behavior, political beliefs, and implicit and explicit attitudes, with some effects lasting 8 months,” the study found. “These results constitute the first evidence that nonconscious priming effects from exposure to a national flag can bias the citizenry toward one political party and can have considerable durability.”

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        • The flag pin thing is one of the stupidest fake controversies ever. Apparently love and pride of one’s country is measured not on their actions, but whether or not they’re willing to wear a 50 cent piece of painted metal that was made in China.

          Are you wearing a flag pin now? If not, why do you hate America?

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    • I guess one person’s “outrage” is another person’s eye-rolling.

      If this is worst Fox does, then I’d say they are much less of a problem than MSNBC.

      Tod’s point was that this was [painfully] stupid commentary on the part of Fox News. And c’mon, it was. But if you’ve a recent clip of some equally, painfully stupid MSNBC News coverage that supports your point, please share. I don’t watch either network, so I’m genuinely interested to see.

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        • Here’s the problem we face with these kinds of silly equivalencies: Fox News continues to market itself as an unbiased source of News. (By now, of course, that’s a joke. Hence, Tod’s undertaking.)

          An interesting exercise:
          Go to nbcnews.com, you’ll find an “About Us” page targeted to consumers. FoxNews.com, otoh, doesn’t have any similar page. What Fox News does have is ubiquitous branding that self-proclaims itself as “Fair and Balanced.”

          This is, in a nutshell, the problem I have with FNC: they purport to be something they are decidedly not.

          Apparently you agree that all FNC programming outside of Shep and Bret is baloney, but you argue that these baloney programs don’t claim to be anything other than baloney. Yet, their network’s marketing claims they aren’t baloney.

          Look. We already know that loyal Fox News viewers are the least informed compared to the rest of us. What else is there really to say.

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          • You can play the ad game vs. Fox but it’s CNN, etc.’s claim to fairness and balance that’s the true issue. You can have the debating points if you want.

            I don’t claim Fox is down the middle, but yes, it has a Chinese wall between the hard news of Baier and its reporters that MSNBC doesn’t, even if you don’t see it.

            It’s admirers admit* that Fox isn’t balanced as much as it is balance. If all you read is the Sunday NYTimes and listen to a little NPR [was it you who you said you did?], there is no way you can’t be a liberal.

            *”The genius of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes was to have discovered a niche market in American broadcasting — half the American people.”—Krauthammer, now of Fox News himself

            As for Fox News viewers being less informed, it depends on who’s drawing up the test, y’d have to allow.

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            • … it’s CNN, etc.’s claim to fairness and balance that’s the true issue.

              Admittedly, I don’t watch any of this. So what do I know.

              But, I don’t see any claims of “fairness” and/or “balance” on CNN’s website. Haven’t seen it on any ads. (I do watch cable some cable TeeVee) Frankly, I suspect they’ve simply capitalized on the perception that they represent unbiased reporting, so they don’t have to say it.

              Btw, as an ex-marketing exec far be it from me to criticize the “genius” of Murdoch and Ailes. But, as a citizen and a voter, I have plenty of criticism for them and their tactics: they do Goebbels proud. Not soon enough, imo, but Murdoch seems to be collecting his due.

              Near as I can tell, MSNBC (now back to NBCNews) is okee-dokee with admitting that it tailors its appeal to progressives. I haven’t seen Fox News do the same regarding its particular appeal to conservatives. Instead, it keeps touting itself as Fair and Balanced.

              You’re a conservative, and you’ve already admitted that Fox News isn’t a source of quality news outside of Shep and Bret, right? Remind me, how many hours out of the news cycle do Shep and Bret actually cover?

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                • I don’t find any of the Nazi-comparison shtick–whether from the Right or the Left–all that personally upsetting. (Which is not to say that I don’t find actual Nazism personally upsetting.)

                  Certain folks painted GWB with a Hitler ‘stache, and certain other folks later painted Obama with the same ‘stache. It’s all part of the absurd theater that, for good or ill, infects our democratic politics.

                  For the most part, I don’t spend my personal ire on political theater. I spend it on policy.

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                  • Nowadays, it seems we’re forbidden to make any comparison to Nazism. Baudelaire once said the Devil’s neatest trick was to persuade people he didn’t really exist.

                    The one lesson nobody seems to take away from the Third Reich was how far and how quickly they fell — once the most-advanced and most-intellectual nation on earth. How could Germany come to such a sorry pass, taken in by a second-rate hoodlum and a few cronies? It could happen here in the USA, for that matter, anywhere. He who comes preaching certainties in a world of doubt and suspicion will always find a sympathetic audience.

                    Fox News is wonderfully effective propaganda. Propaganda preaches certainty: commencing with the conclusion. Even in its news reporting, watch closely, if you’re of a mind. They start with the conclusion then reinforce the point as if someone were trying to contradict it. It doesn’t matter if their pseudo-rhetoric is internally contradictory, the conclusion, however specious, is paramount.

                    We should be using the example of Nazism a great deal more than we do. In Germany’s hubris, they didn’t think Hitler could possibly achieve his goals. If anything, they intellectualised him into existence. Baudelaire also said people are trying to rationalise, like the madman who only exacerbates his madness in trying to rationalise it.

                    The Third Reich was real enough and its lessons general enough to warrant applying those dark lessons in our times.

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                    • Yeah, but that’s not because it’s forbidden – it’s because is gotten silly.

                      If you make a case that a particular regime in X is going down a road similar to Germany 1932 and we should be concerned, this seems a point worth agreeing or arguing.

                      If you go to the grocery store and discover that they’re only offering paper and not plastic bags and you bemoan that this is EXACTLY WHAT THE JEWS HAD TO PUT UP WITH WHEN HITLER WAS IN POWER, you rightly deserve to be mocked.

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                    • Silly? Always? I beg to differ. Nazism invented nothing new. It just had a better bureaucracy. Its religion was a ridiculous pastiche of Romantic legends, Parsifal especially. Fox News is demonstrably propaganda. Absolutely inescapable conclusion, as surely as the legend of Parsifal was chivalric propaganda.

                      Nazism was obsessed with imagery and patriotism of a very particular sort. The Fox News episode “We’re not hearing the chants of USA! USA! The uniforms don’t look like flags!” smacks of Nazism to me, the real Nazism which replaced “Guten Morgen” with “Heil Hitler”.

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                    • Fox News is demonstrably propaganda.

                      I couldn’t agree more. Heck, even TVD apparently agrees with that while he winks and nods.

                      I equally agree that we need to take the lessons of Nazi history seriously. We must remember. But the folks who are, today, pointing their fingers while painting mustaches are, indeed, theater in the absurd. Saying anything else simply grants those folks an entirely disproportionate level of legitimacy.

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                    • Along the line, somewhere, Nazism acquired an aura of Ultimate Evil, as if it remains beyond comparison to anything in the real world. Other regimes have behaved barbarically to Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally ill, the defective: Edward Longshanks did a fine job of extirpating his Jews and Eugenics had quite a following right here in the US of A.

                      Fox News’ hyper-patriotism is a growing menace. After many years, I’ve come to believe Patriotism is a particularly disgusting sort of religion with all the negatives of religion and none of its positives. In my own little essay on Liberal Democracy, I said liberal democracy works reasonably well until it encounters Thems. Patriotism defines the Us-es and increasingly, Fox News is defining the Thems. Chesterton once said “My country, right or wrong is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying My mother, drunk or sober.”

                      Fascism in one form or another is the end product of unfettered capitalism. Like democracy, it arises from within and comes wrapped in a flag. It can’t be transplanted: it depends on nationalism and an Us Versus Them paradigm. If it cannot find such a paradigm it will promptly invent one, no matter how absurd. Eisenhower called it the Military-Industrial Complex but it’s more that that. It’s when money eventually captures and supplants the power of government. The Nazis kept the word Socialism and got rid of the word Democrat in their formal nomenclature.

                      Fox News can call itself Fair and Balanced all it likes. It has become the mouthpiece for American Fascism, a movement which never really went away. Names have power: let us not be shy about what we call fascism in our times. It has all been seen before.

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                    • Those who think that Nazism is the world’s greatest evil — they ought to listen to more trolls.
                      Trolls are convinced that Nazism is the world’s greatest joke, and that’s why people are so interested in it. So meticulous, about such a grim and dirty business, those Nazis.
                      Let ’em laugh, says I, so long as they roll up their shirtsleeves. There’s enough death around, enough horrors for thirty lifetimes.

                      Best we get started fixin’ them.

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                    • No. But I don’t really call MSNBC “propaganda” either. Foul, an automatic Godwin.

                      I just pipe up when the bleat on Fox starts. To my mind, the informed American should watch ’em all. I am pleased that Ailes iced Glenn Beck, though. I enjoy him, but when he goes off, it’s waaaaaaaay off, into the ditch.

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                    • Meh. The Informed American is expected tos pend how much of his day on politics, TVD?
                      You’d do better off recommending DailyKos — at least that’s quicker to skim!
                      (can you rec an equivalent blog on the right?)

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                    • Fox News is, as I have said, a propaganda organ for a newer, sleeker fascism. That really is beyond dispute, Tom. It’s far and away the most popular “news” outlet of its type, peddling bogus outrage and smug certainty by the buttload. Squirm around and squirt out squid ink by the bucketful: it changes nothing.

                      And it’s getting worse. Every day, there’s more of it. Just how much more of “Where are the chants of USA! USA!?” are we going to have to endure before the Fox Fans finally recognise the tune they’re playing? Sounds an awful lot like Die Wacht Am Rhein to me.

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                    • Is there another law, related to Godwin’s Law, about the probability of someone invoking Godwin’s Law with or without an actual reference to Nazi’s? The law itself has become almost as effective as a means for dismissing the views of an opponent as Nazi analogies themselves, and therefore almost as deleterious to any discussion.

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                    • Blaise you play basketball with a baseball bat. No point in calling fouls, except for amusement purposes only.

                      Fox News is, as I have said, a propaganda organ for a newer, sleeker fascism. That really is beyond dispute, Tom.

                      Now that’s amusing. But I heard you the first time, heard you the hundredth. You keep saying the same lie over and over about Fox. That’s propaganda. Although I don’t use that word.

                      And yes, there are certainly corollaries to Godwin’s Law, and the word and charge of “propaganda” is a prime one since it’s inextricably associated with Goebbels, etc. The Inquisition when the topic is religion. Racism and slavery to negate any point about the Founding or American history. Fascism when a liberal opens his mouth about anything, a hearty all-purpose spew for any occasion.

                      And you take yrselves so seriously when you do it. That’s not so amusing.

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                    • Blaise, you play basketball with a baseball bat. No point in calling fouls, except for amusement purposes only.

                      Fox News is, as I have said, a propaganda organ for a newer, sleeker fascism. That really is beyond dispute, Tom.

                      Now that’s amusing. But I heard you the first time, heard you the hundredth. You keep saying the same lie over and over about Fox. That’s propaganda. Although I don’t use that word.

                      And yes, there are certainly corollaries to Godwin’s Law, and the word and charge of “propaganda” is a prime one since it’s inextricably associated with Goebbels, etc. The Inquisition when the topic is religion. Racism and slavery to negate any point about the Founding or American history. Fascism when a liberal opens his mouth about anything, a hearty all-purpose spew for any occasion.

                      And you take yrselves so seriously when you do it. That’s not so amusing.

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                    • Propaganda is Poor Richard’s turf, as well as it is The emenance grise’s. Thomas Paine knew propaganda well.

                      Propaganda is a tool, like any other, TVD, adn you do America a disservice by dismissing it as a tool only of evil.

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                    • If the Fox News video above is not fascistic cant and hyper-patriotic propaganda, nothing is. There’s one deficiency to rhetoric around here: every time I come to the point, Blaise-bashing commences forthwith. It’s a sign I’ve won the debate. Maybe you need to admit the obvious, Tom, that Fox News is what I say it is.

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                    • I’m afraid so, Tom. Yes, this is what fascism looks like. This is the way fascism talks to the world. Lots of very nice people buy into this crap, as they bought into it in Italy and Germany and Spain all those years ago.

                      Fascism didn’t die away. It’s a force of nature, as problematic as the union of Church and State. It’s always there. It must always be resisted. And that struggle isn’t helped along by a gang of Fox News blowhards questioning everyone else’s patriotism.

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                  • It’s a little bit more than political theater when you have people who went through it using that terminology. Or at least it seems that way to me.

                    Do you find fascism upsetting? Do you find the rise of the first fascist party since WW2 in europe upsetting?

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                    • Of course I find actual Fascism upsetting. That seems a rather absurd query. Unworthy of Kimmi, if you ask me.

                      What I don’t find upsetting–or rather, what I choose not to be upset by–is the altogether casual and usually baseless propagandic use of such abhorrent concepts as a means of furthering today’s political agendas.

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                    • I note it as a reference point, kt.
                      We live in most dangerous times.

                      I welcome the wisdom of those who have lived through other dangerous times. And I will not deride such because of illmannered illtempered knaves who weren’t being referenced in the original conversation until you were so distractable to bring them up.
                      [I get distracted too. But can we at least return to the original conversation?]

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                    • [I get distracted too. But can we at least return to the original conversation?]

                      Heh. Distraction is, indeed, an occupational hazard on this blog. Admittedly, I only quickly skimmed my way back through this specific thread (I like to think I have a life) but near as I can tell I’ve not directed the convo toward an unrelated tangent. I think we’re still soundly in the realm of Tod’s OP. But if he has an issue, he’ll surely voice it.

                      We live in most dangerous times.

                      Relative to which time, exactly?
                      I mean, some folks in-the-know will tell you, with supporting data, that we are safer today than ever before.

                      C’mon. Human history is rife with “dangerous times”.
                      What makes today so special, to your mind? That there’s political polarization? Propaganda? Upheaval? God help us if we haven’t learned from our mistakes, but seriously: been there, done that.

                      I’m not suggesting that there aren’t some serious policy challenges unique to today, right now. Of course there are. But the fact that we face controversial challenges unique to our time is not, in and of itself, a unique circumstance.

                      And I will not deride such because of illmannered illtempered knaves who weren’t being referenced in the original conversation until you were so distractable to bring them up.

                      Wha?

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                    • *smirk* I mentioned -actual holocaust survivors- and you went off on a tirade about the gadzillion OTHER people who call people Nazis. Thus, I figured I was inbounds for calling out off-subject. (unless, come to think, you meant to call me one of those illmannered fools — but if you meant to do such, I’d hope you’d tell me straight. I detest the pretense of courtesy.)

                      Our history, right now, is much more dangerous because we are much more connected, and we are messing with much larger quantities of things.

                      1) Nuclear War. America and the Soviets had 30 minutes gap between “oh gawd they launched nukes” and “we MUST retaliate”. India and Pakistan have five minutes. Israel and her enemies, perhaps even less (kindly do not mistake the phraseology for me taking sides, I’m just preferring to leave the other side a bit vague).

                      2) BP Drilling — there was a significant chance that we’d lose all life on earth.

                      3) Biological warfare, sometimes suspiciously called “roundup ready” (that sardonic joke’s for BP). It doesn’t even need to be manmade, simply spread via airplanes across the world. We live in very close proximity to Kenya.

                      4) The DDT Thing — this time expressed in estrogens, released around the world. There are already villages north of the Arctic circle that haven’t seen a male baby in years. Anecdotal? you betcha! But that can be laid beside the drop in male birthrate, worldwide. Significant, but not alarming… yet.

                      5) Financials — making the world’s pegged currency implode would have been a neat trick. People sometimes have no clue how close we came to armageddon (I say sardonically “guns and cigarettes” — but I say that in the vein of “Lucifer’s Hammer,” with the sure aforeknowledge that many people will die, if it comes about). I don’t think we’re done with sacking parliments yet…

                      The politics are nearly not worth worrying about, with real concrete dangers everywhere. But politics FOLLOW economics, they do not lead.
                      http://consumerist.com/2012/04/study-says-the-more-walmarts-in-the-area-the-more-hate-groups-there-are.html

                      If you smell fear, there’s probably fire somewhere.

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  7. I just witnessed the following exchange on Fox News, and my jaw dropped as well:

    They were doing a story on the recent sharp rise in gasoline prices. “Business analyst” Steve Varney was talking about the political implications of this rise:

    VARNEY: …But if any blame goes to President Obama, he’s very vulnerable in the swing states, especially Ohioi. There’s a big electoral college number there, and it’s very much a swing state. To have the price go up 40 cents a gallon in the big cities in Ohio just in a week is probably a negative for President Obama.

    FOX NEWSBIMBO: Alright, Steve Varney. Thank you so much–we appreciate the good news.

    Just to borrow from Tod: “Wow. Just…wow.”

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    • Newsbimbo is sexist. They did research re: the women on Fox, and most have advanced degrees. I’d like to know her name and see a transcript so I can get context. I haven’t seen anyone on Fox, except the Hannity like opinion pieces, say something that biased. It’s amazing how sexist the Left becomes when the woman in questions isn’t politically correct.

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    • FTR, the aforementioned “FOX NEWSBIMBO” isn’t a newsperson any more than Chris Matthews is. Or Anderson Cooper, who coined the obscenity “Teabaggers” in reference to the conservative Tea Party movement.

      And Varney’s analysis that rising gas prices may hurt President Obama politically is hardly controversial.

      http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/242249-rising-gas-prices-may-haunt-obama

      For the record.

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        • Yes, I got it, Don. The host of the show is no more impartial than Chris Matthews. I’d thought I wouldn’t have to troll the Chris Matthews canon for his gold-standard imbecilities to illustrate my point.

          It is what it is. Fox has 2 news shows, Bret Baier and Shep Smith [who slips in a few left-of-center jabs on occasion]. The rest, esp Hannity and the morning show Fox & Friends [which I think we’re referring to here], make no pretense at nonpartisanship.

          As for Anderson Cooper at the putatively “news” CNN, less excusable. “Journalist” Bill Moyers on PBS, absolutely inexcusable as anything but opinion if not advocacy journalism [with no equivalent on the right PBS].

          As for Stuart Varney, since “business analyst” was written in “scare quotes,” I note that the scare quotes are unnecessary, because that’s what he is, and he’s no less partisan than say Michael Hitzlik, whose opinions my LA Times subjects me to right on the front of its business page.

          http://www.latimes.com/news/columnists/la-columnist-mhiltzik,0,3041600.columnist

          Just for the record. ;-)

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          • So tu quoques are back in vogue now, are they?

            More to the point, I have to disagree that Hannity make no pretense about nonpartisanship. While Hannity definitely identifies himself as conservative, his constant railing against “liberal media bias” implies that he immune from bias, which is a falsehood. Saying, “I’m a conservative, but I’m going to tell you the REAL news, not like those folks over there who are just part of the liberal media conspiracy,” implies something that is not true, which is that Hannity’s perspective is real and thus free of bias, negating the claim that there is no pretense.

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            • Kazzy, unlike MSNBC using Rachel Maddow, etc. as news anchors on election coverage*, Fox doesn’t use Hannity, O’Reilly, et al., they use Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly. They do make a distinction. Hannity makes no pretense at being a straight news anchor, nor does Fox put him forth as such.

              his constant railing against “liberal media bias” implies that he immune from bias, which is a falsehood.

              There is a liberal media bias. Duh. But Hannity is an advocate, he freely admits it. Calls his radio show “The Stop Obama Express.”

              *http://www.aim.org/aim-column/msnbc-planning-to-have-matthews-co-host-this-years-election-coverage/

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              • Until the last few years, I’d have agreed with you that the media generally leaned center-left. Now? Fox News’ success has completely changed the playing field. CNN (which is terrible in its own ways) is the television media outlet of the Centrist Elites, MSNBC of liberals, and Fox of conservatives, with CBS and ABC more or less in the same boat as CNN. Regardless, in a world with a truly liberal media, this story would not be getting handled the way it is: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/ohio-military-voting-media-framing-and-political-campaigns/

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                • I don’t see how that compares with 86% negative coverage for Romney’s international trip.

                  http://newsbusters.org/blogs/scott-whitlock/2012/08/02/networks-fawned-over-obamas-world-tour-mock-romneys-international-bl

                  Newsbusters, I know. But Mark, how do I find a “neutral” link [read: the mainstream media] to substantiate an allegation of the bias of the mainstream media??????

                  ???!!!!

                  Our problems remain, well, you know.

                  “MRC analysts examined all 21 ABC, CBS and NBC evening news stories about Romney’s trip to London, Israel and Poland between July 25 and July 31. Virtually all of these stories (18, or 86%) emphasized Romney’s “diplomatic blunders,” from his “golden gaffe” at the Olympic games to “missteps” that offended the Palestinians.

                  The first of these “gaffes” was the former GOP governor asserting that security problems in London are not “encouraging.” (This unsurprising point had previously been made by many in the media.)

                  Journalists pounced. On July 26, guest World News guest anchor Josh Elliott mocked, “Now to the war of words underway tonight in London, what’s being called Mitt Romney’s golden gaffe.”

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                  • I think of most of what gets covered by a bored media in a presidential campaign to be useless, but I might have to disagree in this instance.

                    You’re a running for president of the USA and you take a trip to Great Britain. The only reason you take this trip is to paint a picture for American voters that you are better with the diplomacy thing than your opponent. You pick countries that you believe will give you preferential treatment to look good. Your whole message to the leaders and people of Great Britain is that for a number of reasons, you are a much better match than the other guy, and they should like you more. After the first day there, you put your foot in it to the extent that the Prime Minister not only acknowledges that you’ve crossed a line, but he basically calls you and your accomplishments out in a news conference.

                    I’m sorry, but regardless of political party, in what world is this not news, and in what world do journalists call this a “win” for you?

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                    • Tod, I can stipulate the UK. But the Palestinian thing was a reporter taking a Romney quote to the other side and stirring up [stuff].

                      Romney might have scored some real mileage about Jerusalem being Israel’s capital. And the Poland trip was a total success, netting Lech Walesa’s endorsement.

                      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/post/lech-walesa-to-romney-get-your-success—be-successful/2012/07/30/gJQAAwgYKX_blog.html

                      I’m sure I’ve changed your mind about this now. ;-)

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                    • IOW, only negatives about Romney are newsworthy.

                      “the press didn’t report more on trips where nothing of note happened than when a famous person puts his foot in it?”

                      That’s about right. But Walesa laying out the red carpet IS news, and so is the controversy about Jerusalem.

                      But all the folks here in this very thread knew was the negative about the trip, and these [we, thee] are very tuned-in people.

                      With 86% negative coverage, how can it be otherwise?

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                    • But that’s a separate point, isn’t it?

                      Maybe we should care more that someone shook someone’s hand and didn’t fish it up, maybe we shouldn’t. But country’s our not caring about it has little to do with party lines, or a media conspiracy. Pick any president or presidential candidate shaking hands with foreign dignitaries, and – regardless of political party – one of three things happens:

                      1. No one cares
                      2. The person does something stupid (a la Romney in GB, or GWB giving an impromptu massage that obviously creeps out a German chancellor on camera), and it becomes “news” for a week, and then it isn’t
                      3. The person is treated like a rock star by that countries crowds, and that becomes “news” for about a week, and then it isn’t

                      Maybe we should care more about 1, or less about 2 and 3. But we like what we like and are bored by what we’re bored by. You don’t need a deep-rooted conspiracy here.

                      (In truth, I’ve only seen #3 happen once in my lifetime, and that had less to do with the presidential candidate that was celebrated, and more to do with the fact that the guy he was about to replace – GWB – was despised and considered a laughingstock by those countries’ citizens.)

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                  • The negative coverage of Romney’s European tour seems pretty easily explainable – the success or failure of such trips is always judged on how the candidate is received abroad, and it does not appear he was generally very well received. It’s also rather difficult to control the media narrative when one refuses to hold a press conference at which the US media can actively participate (this is in fact generally a pretty good way to ensure negative coverage regardless of political biases). Regardless, that’s a story where partisan/ideologically-motivated sources in the US aren’t the basis for the narrative in the media.

                    The example I linked above is appalling because it is a narrative that is clearly and indisputably factually incorrect, but the media has bought the narrative hook, line, and sinker as put forth from partisan sources. Any attempt to actually look at the original documents would demonstrate that to be the case.

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          • Fox has 2 news shows, Bret Baier and Shep Smith [who slips in a few left-of-center jabs on occasion].

            This is FNC we’re talking about here. Fox NEWS Channel. (vs. Fox’s entertainment channel.)

            So one might reasonably presume that this particular 24-hr channel is, in fact, dedicated to actual News coverage. But, no? Only two programs in their entire line-up are actually devoted to News coverage?

            The rest, esp Hannity and the morning show Fox & Friends [which I think we’re referring to here], make no pretense at nonpartisanship.

            I disagree. Fox News still flies on its banner, “Fair and Balanced.” Isn’t that a tacit (if not outright) statement of non-partisanship? Alien visitors to our planet who aren’t schooled in the propagandic double-speak of our world might (and reasonably so) take that to mean that FNC’s programming takes pains to not be partisan.

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            • But that’s not the reality, KT. Alan Colmes leaving Hannity & Colmes didn’t make Sean a centrist. That’s a duh.

              This is hopeless.

              http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2012/01/06/study-is-fox-too-balanced-

              “The authors also looked at the opinions of guests. Here Fox again out-balanced the competition. Of Fox’s 149 guests, 59 believed in global warming, 69 didn’t, with the rest someplace in the middle. Of CNN’s 53 story guests, 41 were “climate change believers” and nine were “doubters.” On MSNBC, 11 of 20 guests were believers.

              The study acknowledges that Fox was the most balanced from the numbers perspective, but the network still gets an F. The reason, it says, is because viewers are influenced by what they see, and seeing more critics of global warming makes more viewers critics. “The more often people watched Fox News, the less accepting they were of global warming. Conversely, frequent CNN and MSNBC viewing was associated with greater acceptance of global warming,” the study concludes.

              IOW, although Fox was most balanced, its more frequent coverage of the issue plus its overall negative meant that although it was more balanced, it was less fair.

              Or something. Read the whole thing.

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                • And there you have it. It matters not what happened. Only that everyone got the same number of points and trophies in the end.

                  The truly ironic thing is that it is conservative who most often decry this notion of fairness, this pursuit of “trophies for all”.

                  Maybe 86% of new reports were negative because the trip, by and large, was a failure.

                  I know… I’ll demand that 50% of all journalists insist the economy is thriving. I mean, we wouldn’t want to be biased afterall…

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              • Are we talking reality here, or perception? They are not the same thing. The reality is, as I think you’ve admitted, that Fox News doesn’t actually do Fair and Balanced news.

                What’s interesting to me is that the article you linked relies on Climate Change reportage to make its point. However, the vast majority of climate/climate-related scientists agree on AGW. Given that fact, it’s not hard to argue that Fox News afforded an entirely disproportionate amount of air time to AGW skeptics, vs. the “balanced” airtime y’all are suggesting.

                Fox News hangs its hat on the Fair and Balanced hook, and it’s not only not Fair and Balanced, folks who rely on it are measurably more ill-informed than the rest of us.

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                • KT, I just grabbed an article to show that proving anything to yr satisfaction is a fool’s errand. I mean, here. Anything I post gets waved away anyway.

                  http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/Media-Bias-Is-Real-Finds-UCLA-6664.aspx

                  “folks who rely on Fox are measurably more ill-informed than the rest of us.”

                  True as far as it goes; the study you refer to shows those who ONLY watch Fox News to be less informed. It also shows talk radio listeners are better informed than MSNBC or CNN viewers. Who’da thunk it?

                  One of the “scientists” admits the differences are small. You say they’re “measurable” and they are, but without the tabs, it’s hard to tell how many people we’re talking about. I’d think there’s a lot of overlap between NPR/MSNBC and talk radio/Fox audiences, which blows up the narrow finding of Fox-only viewers. [Or MSNBC-only viewers.]

                  That Limbaugh listeners might be better informed than CNN viewers, now that’s a takeaway.

                  http://publicmind.fdu.edu/2012/confirmed/

                  If we’re trolling the bottom to see whose worst is worse, I’ll give you the point, although it’s tough to yield up Fox News as long as Al Sharpton has a job in cable “news.”

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                  • I’m not trying to troll for the worst. That’s really my point.

                    All broadcast news is crappy (if I’m forced to generalize) but it’s only Fox News that, despite years and reams of evidence to the contrary, still contends at every marketing opp that its news coverage is Fair and Balanced, when every last one of us knows it is not, not by any measure one wishes to trot out in defense.

                    Not that my opinion should matter to you, but it’s genuinely discouraging to me, as a lurker, when you play the victim card as often and as carelessly as you do (“Anything I post gets waved away anyway.”) If your conservative ideals are all that, then surely you can defend them sans all the dang drama. Especially here, of all places.

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                  • The notion that news was ever fair or balanced has always been specious. Fox is propaganda. The best propaganda is larded throughout with solid fact but cannot be said to present any semblance of even-handed coverage. Propaganda makes a point and the best-constructed lie always contains a solid nugget of truth, like a rock in a snowball. The terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center were Muslims. That’s a fact, strictly speaking. But it cannot be extended through the fallacy of Glittering Generality to imply all Muslims are terrorists.

                    And it doesn’t matter whose news you get: it’s like the old proverb about “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” However true that might be, he wouldn’t be king in the land of Binocular Vision. No sensible reporter or intelligence operator basis his reporting on a single source.

                    I like reading the Pakistani papers, especially the opinion pages, they’re chock full of wonderfully piquant anti-American diatribes. Loads of fun. But every so often, through all that jingoistic bluster, there’s a brief window where some underlying truth emerges. Pakistanis hate us, sublimating their hatred and bitterness about the failure of their own government(s) to create the creature comforts they see in Indian society. They know their own government has failed them.

                    I look at Fox and its pathological hatred of President Obama much the same way. They just can’t stand the idea of this guy in office. Every time his face appears, it’s like the horses in Young Frankenstein, when someone said “Frau Blucher”. Barking crazy. But somewhere, deep down, I sense fear and ultimately dejection. Disillusion. Despair, even. They understand the era of American supremacy has faded away. Reagan’s been dead lo these many years. They want to return to a past which never was.

                    It’s really quite sad. Gaze long enough upon your worst enemy and ultimately your heart will be filled with pity. Fox and its rabidly partisan commentators have nothing to offer but outrage and contempt. They’re empty people.

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                    • To my mind, bias is okay and even, to your point I believe, unavoidable.

                      I take issue with the denial of bias. FNC has gone way beyond plain ole bias– they’ve taken strategic pains to promote an ideologically-based narrative while pretending and protesting with each marketing breath that they haven’t. That’s crossing over into Orwellian territory.

                      There was indeed a time, not all that long ago, when news coverage was governed by news people. For whatever reasons, that’s not the case today. Today, news coverage is governed by ratings.

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                    • KT, all I can say is that “Fair and Balanced” comes with a wink and most every righty knows it. Y’d have to take my word for it, it’s not even an open secret, it’s an inside joke. It’s an open joke if you actually grok the right.

                      Limbaugh, in a quote every listener knows: “Many people have said I need to be balanced with equal time. Wrong . . . I AM equal time.”

                      Every Rush listener knows he’s not playing it down the middle. The best he can do is balance things out.

                      Brit Hume started the legit Fox News at the invitation of Roger Ailes. Hume’s a straight-up guy. I’m reading Felix Rohatyn’s autobio right now and was surprised to learn that the Jack Anderson investigator who was hounding him was a young man named Hume.

                      Hume stepped down, wanted to do some op-ed that’s inappropriate for a newsman. Got old and tired of the grind, too.

                      Do me a favor and watch Bret Baier’s newscast, Special Report that he took over from Hume. Me, I marvel at how hard he tries to play it straight down the middle and it wouldn’t surprise me to find out some day that personally, he’s a Democrat.

                      And let me put in a good word for Greta van Susteren. Of course she cheerily interviews Sarah Palin without turning it into agony for all involved, viewer and viewee alike. I actually wrote a fan letter to Greta [a Clinton defender on Lewinsky] once for the quality of her work. There’s a professional.

                      Forget MSNBC. CNN: Anderson Cooper? The guy who invented “teabagger” for the Tea Party? Let’s not go into what that means as gentlepersons, ladies and gentlemen as they used to say.

                      I’ll stipulate any specifics about Fox you want to substantiate. The Fox & Friends morning show in particular has nothing to do with journalism, although as “equal time,” it stands as no less risible than ABC’s The View as propaganda, and on a major broadcast network.

                      Per my previous, I wasn’t complaining that anything I post is ignored: I’m heard quite damn loud and clear and that’s why i get teabagged.

                      [And you know what I mean.]

                      I meant only that my correspondents ignore the links and evidence I present an then whine I don’t answer. Our gentle readers get it all fine. This is a forum, a marketplace of ideas. We each put our ideas and evidence out on our tables via these discussions. There’s no battle here. Wrong metaphor.

                      Thx for the discussion, KT. As for the Golden Age of Playing It Straight, check this dude out. Former reporter, now PhD and college prof. Haven’t heard a discouraging word from right OR left.

                      http://mediamythalert.wordpress.com/category/cronkite-moment/

                      Media Myth Alert is a Web log that periodically calls attention to the appearance and publication of media-driven myths — stories about and/or by the news media that are widely believed and often retold but which, under scrutiny, prove to be apocryphal or wildly exaggerated.

                      Media Myth Alert also seeks to promote Getting It Wrong, which was published in 2010 by University of California Press.

                      Getting It Wrong won the 2010 Sigma Delta Chi award for research about journalism, a national award given by the Society for Professional Journalists.

                      The content of Media Myth Alert is written by W. Joseph Campbell, a tenured full professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C. He is a former professional journalist, having reported for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Hartford Courant, and the Associated Press in a 20-year career that took him across North America to Europe, Asia, and West Africa.

                      Including Getting It Wrong, Campbell is the author of five books.

                      His other works include Yellow Journalism: Puncturing the Myths, Defining the Legacies (2001) and The Year That Defined American Journalism: 1897 and the Clash of Paradigms (2006).

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                    • @ktward:

                      There was indeed a time, not all that long ago, when news coverage was governed by news people. For whatever reasons, that’s not the case today. Today, news coverage is governed by ratings.

                      I am sorry to report there never was such a time. The press has always been driven by ratings and scoops. If network news was once a loss leader, so was passenger rail, a prestige item. But it was never governed by News People. News was a business and always was.

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                  • Did you even read that UCLA press release you linked to?

                    I first learned of Tim Groseclose through the Freakonomics blog: to say his methodology is somewhat suspect is an understatement.

                    Submitted in evidence, a couple statements from the press release:

                    Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.

                    The WSJ is leading the revolution! Huh!

                    Another finding that contradicted conventional wisdom was that the Drudge Report was slightly left of center.

                    There’s another liberal!

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                    • A fascinating bit of criticism:

                      Dow Jones & Co. in a letter to Romenesko responding to the study’s classification of the Wall Street Journal news pages as liberal:

                      “[T]he reader of this report has to travel all the way Table III on page 57 to discover that the researchers’ “study” of the content of The Wall Street Journal covers exactly FOUR MONTHS in 2002, while the period examined for CBS News covers more than 12 years, and National Public Radio’s content is examined for more than 11 years. This huge analytical flaw results in an assessment based on comparative citings during vastly differing time periods, when the relative newsworthiness of various institutions could vary widely. Thus, Time magazine is “studied” for about two years, while U.S. News and World Report is examined for eight years. Indeed, the periods of time covered for the Journal, the Washington Post and the Washington Times are so brief that as to suggest that they were simply thrown into the mix as an afterthought. Yet the researchers provide those findings the same weight as all the others, without bothering to explain that in any meaningful way to the study’s readers.”

                      TVD’s right. Gotta do all the words.

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                    • Doing some research, KT. Cool. The trick is not to stop at the first thing you find on google that agrees with you and then call it a day.

                      The WSJ news pages are right-wing? [The op-ed pages are, admittedly.] You have the floor, KT. I’m listening.

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  8. @TVD here:

    Doing some research, KT. Cool. The trick is not to stop at the first thing you find on google that agrees with you and then call it a day.

    It wasn’t my research, no googling on my end: I simply clicked on BAM’s link. Like you could have.

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        • KT, where we agree:

          To my mind, bias is okay and even, to your point I believe, unavoidable.

          I take issue with the denial of bias.

          That’s my point too, but out of the literally thousands of news sources, why Fox? The “Fair and Balanced” is done with a nod and a wink, I assure you. [Although it didn’t exactly start that way if you know the story of ex-Jack Anderson operative Brit Hume.] To pound on an ad slogan is sophistic.

          CNN is “The Most Trusted Name in News.” You tell me, is the flagship Anderson Cooper 360 show put out there like O’Reilly or like Cronkite? Since he coined the obscenity “teabagger” for the conservative Tea Party, I’d say he’s not a Cronkite.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/15/anderson-cooper-its-hard_n_187318.html

          http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=teabagging

          Your call.

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          • Since [Anderson Cooper] coined the obscenity “teabagger” for the conservative Tea Party

            This timeline suggests otherwise. As Jay Nordlinger of NRO wrote:

            The first big day for this movement was Tax Day, April 15. And organizers had a gimmick. They asked people to send a tea bag to the Oval Office. One of the exhortations was “Tea Bag the Fools in D.C.” A protester was spotted with a sign saying, “Tea Bag the Liberal Dems Before They Tea Bag You.” So, conservatives started it: started with this terminology. But others ran with it and ran with it.

            I’m not defending Cooper, who went over the line (though he had the good grace to apologize for it), just saying that if someone were going to invent a viral bit of wordplay, it probably wouldn’t be him. (The linked timeline suggests Rachel Maddow, who is funny.)

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          • That’s my point too, but out of the literally thousands of news sources, why Fox? The “Fair and Balanced” is done with a nod and a wink, I assure you.

            Your esteemed assurances aside, it’s reality and apples-to-apples comparisons that my comments reference. Again, I have not, for a handful of years+, watched either Network nor Cable news.

            That said, I’ve been so long divorced from the ratings-driven content/dramatic delivery that today defines “News”, that when I do run across it, it seems less like News and more like a Soap Opera: doesn’t matter the channel, really, I become immediately skeptical of content.

            Stewart and Colbert have successfully made their mark, built on this very reality. And interestingly, Fox News and CNN are their primary targets. Coincidence?

            What’s your point here, Tom? (May I call you Tom?) I mean, when we’re talking about FNC, there are decidedly not “thousands” of comparative news sources in terms of audience. There are only a handful. Or less. And you seem to be arguing, “But but but, they’re shitty too!”

            Is that really the argument you wish to make here, of all places?

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  9. Recently I was visiting my folks and I went the gym with my stepmother. I hit the treadmill while she was doing aerobics or such.

    On the left I had MSN and on the right, Fox. Format was the same, the guests, opposite poles of each other, each spinning their propaganda as they tried to inflate non issues into something that would get traction.

    Any cogent comments made were quickly drowned by a sea of sound bytes, more propaganda, or accusations that the other side were the equivalent of extremists, 5th columnists, etc.

    And people wonder why I refuse to watch this garbage….

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