Yes, America, Our Media Failed Us For Election 2016

I mainly want to point people to Daily Kos’ “The media has failed this nation“. Frank Vyan Walton covers most of what I’d say. He likely has a broader perspective because the majority of the news I watch is hyper-partisan Fox News which is nothing more than a news format for right-wing blog and radio content their executive suite view as marketable to a broader, more mainstream conservative audience.

As Fox News has grown into an unwatchable Donald Trump infomercial when it isn’t trying to destroy Hillary Clinton, I switched over the CNN. CNN is bending over backwards to look fair. Okay, that sounds terrific. Who wants biased coverage? However, at some point the purpose of a news network is to report the news and any analysis must be based on expert research, not partisan opinion.

…Fox News which is nothing more than a news format for right-wing blog and radio content their executive suite view as marketable to a broader, more mainstream conservative audience.

What CNN defines as fairness typically is gathering pundits, politicians, and campaign surrogates onto panels where important topics rarely are discussed long enough to get beyond shallow talking points which viewers hear repeated over and over again. Nothing is learn. Mud and dubious factoids are tossed back and forth. Infotainment.

Can we please depend more on in-depth expert, non-partisan analysis? What do we really understand of the candidate’s policies on health care, the economy, climate change, national defense, etc.? I’m not saying these topics are never discussed on CNN but the overwhelming emphasis I’ve picked up watching many hours of their Election 2016 coverage is the sizzle of the horse race, not the steak of actual policies.

Worse, CNN doesn’t seem to me to be just reporting on the horse race. It’s pretty clear CNN wants the horse race to be as close as possible. So we are bombarded with endless false equivalencies and imbalance in critical analysis to make it look like there’s no difference, say, in the honesty of Hillary versus Donald. Yet, a fact check comparison by PolitiFact proves Trump is by far the worse liar.

Is it any surprise in the absence of quality Election 2016 information and an avalanche of poorly fact checked partisan claims, conspiracy theories, speculation, and over-hyped scandal voters are frustrated and angry to the point most have a very poor opinion of both major party candidates and have an even lower opinion or our media?

Confirmed: Fox News ‘Media Watchdog’ Howard Kurtz A Right-Wing Hack

One of the biggest stories any media watchdog worth their salt should note this week is Fox News’ Bret Bairer apologizing for a poorly sourced story an FBI indictment is forthcoming for Hillary Clinton. So how did Howard Kurtz handle it given his first chance on his “Media Buzz” show? Kurtz buried the lead. Segment after segment he pounded home the point the liberal media is in the tank for Hillary Clinton. With 8 minutes left in the show he brought in Fox News’ supposedly ‘hard news’ reporter Ed Henry to discuss the FBI leaks media coverage in detail.

Boasting he was just “sticking with the facts” Ed Henry did his best to recast Baier’s bogus reporting as actually true at its core. Huh? Well, you can pull this off if you stick only to cherry-picked facts.

Henry’s data-mining gave Kurtz the chance to lead Henry through a long discussion of surgically cherry-picked facts to carry the narrative the Clinton Foundation scandal is a huge story that will run  on long after the election.

Certainly, the Clinton Foundation corruption narrative is legitimate and should be covered by the press. Certainly, the Clinton Foundation story will endure long after Election 2016 is decided. However, “Media Buzz” claims to be a media watchdog program. When the chance to watchdog Fox News’ own heavy conservative bias, Howard mostly took a pass. Worse, it’s pretty clear Howard was deflecting the conversation to mop up Bret Baier’s partisan sloppy reporting.

Howard leave the editorializing and even reporting of the news to other Fox shows. Not your job.

Return of Eyes On Fox Dot Org

On Twitter I’m EyesOnFoxOrg. Any of my Twitter followers visiting here must wonder about the Dot Org bit. Until today, going there sent anyone on a journey to Asia. Google translate and it’s obvious it’s your run of the mill parked domain page.

My Twitter handle is based upon the Eyes On Fox blog myself and a friend, Gary, ran for many years. “Fox” refers to Fox News which we monitored exposing the popular “fair and balanced” channel’s crazy right-wing bias. The domain eyesonfox.org was registered in Gary’s name as was the host account so, upon Gary’s way too premature death, the entire thing passed into oblivion.

The Propaganda Factory was a concept I toyed with concurrent with Eyes On Fox. The point was Eyes On Fox was focused solely on Fox News. The Propaganda Factory could have a broader scope but I never really did much with it as you can see. Both sites paralleled a general burnout in the blogging thing for me. I was able to pick up the eyesonfox.com domain – which Gary and I had before – as a link to the past but our core eyesonfox.org domain oddly passed through a series of owners who did absolutely nothing with it.

Anyway, while nobody cares but probably me, my namesake is back as of today. Whether I do anything with this site or not is an open question. Certainly Election 2016 has me worked up like much of our greatly divided nation. The biased coverage by Fox News, as expected, has gone way over the top as the “fair and balanced” “Trumpland” pundits populating all the hosting chairs collectively try to push The Donald over the top. It’s to the point with 3 days left it seems Fox is determined not only beat Hillary Clinton but to destroy her. So Fox News is always a rich topic to discuss in the context of propaganda.

But CNN isn’t exactly setting a high bar for journalistic excellence either. Their coverage while far fairer, is almost too fair creating false equivalencies to make Election 2016 an exciting horse race. CNN is the ESPN of news. Political sports entertainment. Keep it close. Keep eyeballs on the telly.

Then there’s the new CBS News streaming channel CBSN which didn’t even exist when Gary was alive. MSNBC which everyone thinks as a liberal Fox News until they witness “Morning With Joe” or watch Chris Matthew dump on Hillary Clinton who he complains he’s weary of and just wants to go away. But there’s Rachael Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell there still and nobody will claim they’re anything but liberally biased to the core. And the 3 major broadcast networks still do their pitiful 30-minute broadcasts a 6:30 PM. Oh, and don’t forget “PBS Newshour” which I like a lot. Must prove I’m a drooling left-winger. Even a Socialist. Maybe a Commie even. Or not.

And then there’s another play on propaganda. My own. Bother everyone with my own opinion like it really matters or is any more insightful than anyone else’s.

Time will tell. I’m just happy I got my name back.

How much does “fair and balanced” Fox And Friends hate Obama?

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Typically I start my morning watching Fox News’ Fox And Friends. Network morning shows are mostly light fare with a little bit of news mixed in. Fox And Friends is sort of like that except it’s far more heavily weighted towards red meat conservative politics.

It won’t take a viewer very long to realize the three co-hosts and most of the guests on Fox And Friends’ curvy couch hate President Obama. One regular Obama hater is billionaire Donald Trump. Brilliant self-promoter? Egomaniac? Take your pick or say he’s a lot of both. There’s no doubt he’s conservative. You don’t have to believe his repeated flirtations with running as a Republican presidential candidate to accept his conservative cred. Just catch a couple of his Fox And Friends visits where trashing President Obama is one of his favorite topics.

Like his last visit yesterday morning where him and his Fox And Friends buddies enjoyed his tweet smearing President Obama with blame for the Seahawk’s Super Bowl loss.

Trump tweet

Mocking any president is fair game. However, good luck finding any video of Fox And Friends similarly mocking, say, Obama’s predecessor President Bush. In fact, the Fox And Friends curvy couch crowd routinely bristles at the run-of-the-mill Bush isn’t the brightest bulb in the pack jokes which were very popular during his presidency and linger to this day.

The saddest part of all of this is this sort of hypocrisy is lost on Fox And Friends and Fox News programming in general. The dye in their wool is so deep red Republican I’m starting to think hating President Obama is what they view as a “fair and balanced” approach to news coverage and analysis. Witness habitual Obama critic Bill O’Reilly’s constant claim he’s fair to President Obama. Which is correct in the context of how tolerant can any Republican be of our president?

Fox News’ Outnumbered advertised as women outnumbering men. Ah, not really, gang.

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I’ve never really watched Fox News’ Outnumbered before other than bits and pieces. However, I have today off for the Lee-Jackson holiday (hey, I live in the South so get used to it) and, sadly, I have nothing better to do. Yes, I need desperately to get a life.

Today might not be the best day to assess the show since it’s interrupted by a “Fox News Alert” with Bret Baier prepping viewers for a joint President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron press conference. However, I got enough of a taste to realize it’s the typical Fox News fair and balanced hypocrisy pimping conservative causes by being anything but.

This particular show features conservative Pete Hegseth as the guy supposedly in the hot seat facing the ladies. Yet, predictably, Pete has nothing to fear nor is there any point of view unique to the ladies you wouldn’t find during any other typical partisan Fox News exchange. Fox News likes to wave the flag so Pete, the former director of the partisan Vets for Freedom which has backed 10 Republicans while running ads opposing Obama, is the perfect pick to pimp Republican policies regarding terrorism, immigration, and all things related.

So who ends up in the hot seat? Left of center Kirsten Powers, the designated liberal on the program. Pete joins the rest of the women to push conservative talking points and piling on Kirsten when she disagrees.

The show reminds me of Fox News’ The Five. As the name implies, there’s 5 co-hosts on The Five. Since this is Fox News you shouldn’t be surprised it’s 4 articulate conservatives against 1 liberal. That single liberal usually is Bob Beckel who, quite frankly, is an embarrassment. Not only is Bob a pitiful debater, he’s a pathetic spokesman for liberalism being a dinosaur who reminds me of a Democratic version of Archie Bunker. Bob is a useful idiot Fox News uses as a tool to discredit anything not fitting their conservative agenda. More on why Fox News picks ‘liberals’ like Bob can be found here.

All I Want For Christmas Is A Brand New Gun. Fox News Fox And Friends Edition.

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Christmas is a time for friends, families, the spirit of giving, and for Christians celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace. Just kidding. If you’re Fox News Fox And Friends it’s the season to spin right-wing politics. Brainwashing viewers is a 365 day a year operation.

So what’s the gift women Fox News targets are craving for Christmas? A new car? A diamond ring? guns for Christmas A trip to Hawaii? A Nordstrom’s shopping spree? Just kidding again. They want a shiny new gun. What else to get people who celebrate Christmas from their fear bunkers? Well, I guess you could purchase some ‘food safety.’

Now you see why I don’t hang out with right-wingers when they’re unwrapping presents. My luck, they packed the gun with bullets in it all ready for the gun-grabbing Obama adminstration’s ATF agents who are liable to kick down their door any minute and the one lib in the room accidentally gets it.

Well, Merry Christmas everyone!

Is Fox News’ Ed Henry a Real Reporter? I Don’t Think So.

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Since Fox News isn’t so much a real news network but just a loud conservative messaging megaphone it logically follows their reporters are merely the tools speaking into said microphone. Enter Ed Henry.

Fox News Fox And Friends, 12/24/2014

Ed Henry and friends. Fox News Fox And Friends 12/24/2014.

I haven’t posted here in a long, long while. The issue hardly is having nothing to post about Fox News. If nothing else, Fox News is a reliable conservative propaganda factory. I’m also not sure why this minor point of bias by Ed Henry is a tipping point to get me to post something again because by Fox News’ outrageous standards it’s the mole hill casting the shadow of a mountain.

So it’s Christmas Eve which is naturally a slow news day. Fox News’ morning propaganda kick-off show, Fox And Friends, is reduced to 2nd and 3rd string co-hosts on the curvy couch. Ed breaches the cliché end of the year news retrospective networks use to plug the hole of little interesting news during the holidays. Only this is Fox News so it’s got to be immersed in politics. It’s Fox News so the spin must be hard right.

What Ed serves up is a softball interview of some pundit to reflect on the worst political stories. Didn’t catch her name. It’s not really important. I suspect it’s the typical Fox News set-up where a conservative spin doctor is peddled as an objective analyst but since I have no proof let’s say she’s truly non-partisan. Her selection wasn’t random in any case as she dives immediately into slamming Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats over Jonathan Gruber.

The punch line? Ed Henry realized what’s up. He’s playing propaganda charades. Deep down inside there’s a shred of guilt. His byline lists him as a “reporter” dagnabit! So he interjects his analyst is “fair and balanced” (yes, Ed used Fox News’ cynical tagline). The proof? She ‘criticizes’ the GOP Congress. That’s “fair and balanced.” Right? Wait for it….

One tiny little crack in the “fair and balanced” mirror. Her criticism of the GOP Congress is they didn’t stop President Obama. Seriously, Ed?

Fox Nation Chokes on “All Opinions Welcome” Slogan

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If you’ve got a sense of humor at all you’ve got to love Fox News. Seriously. Or maybe not so.

Their often parodied “fair and balanced” slogan needs no introduction. Witness Fox Nation’s daddy Fox News cable network’s “fair and balanced” debates. If you watch the network long enough wading through segment after segment softballing conservative politicians, activists, analysts, and pundits you’ll eventually experience one. The topic is invariably some red meat topic that’s percolated up from conservative talk radio and/or blogs. If the conservative guest runs into trouble dealing with the softballs they’re handed the “fair and balanced” host will gladly jump in and help them argue against the guest liberal. Yeah, those “fair and balanced” debates.

So we’re prepped for our Fox Nation experience. Any visitor to Fox Nation is greeted by “All Opinions Welcome.” Maybe so in some broad, we don’t censor comments sense. Maybe in some broad, if you dig long enough – like with our daddy – center-left content might momentarily break through the consistent conservative narrative like a ray of sunshine on a rainy day. Just don’t get your hopes up there’s a whole lot of sincerity in their promise. Well, it’s not really a promise. More like marketing hype. Like Frosted Flakes “tastes great.” Whoever coined that one never actually ate a bowl of Frosted Flakes I’m guessing.

So it’s no surprise their headlines follow a consistently conservative narrative.

Near the of the list as I type these words is “MUST SEE INTERVIEW: Rush On Why He Does His Job.” Then there’s Mark Levin’s “Levin: Benghazi ‘Iran-Contra Times A Thousand’.” If you’re not impressed with the diversity of “all opinions” yet there’s “Krauthammer: Poor Folks And Congress Will Get Obamacare Subsidy.” Calling from Fox News’ stable of “fair and balanced” ‘news analyst’ hosts there’s Bill O’Reilly’s “O’Reilly to ‘Race Hustler’ Al Sharpton: ‘Your Day Is Done’.”

Drowning in “all opinions welcome?” Me too. But Fox Nation is so much more than punditry. There’s news to be found there too!

Stories like “Where’s Obama On The Democratic Sex Scandals?” Then there’s “Weiner: ‘I Can’t Promise No Surprises’ Before Campaign Ends.” Let’s not overlook “Leno: How Do You Get Lower Than Anthony Weiner?” It seems Fox Nation has Weiner of the brain.

I won’t list every ‘article’ but they are all conservative opinions. All are critical of liberals except one “Conservatives Challenge McConnell To Defund Obamacare: ‘If You Fund It, You Own It’” which is a conservative group going after a Republican for – wait for it – not acting conservative enough. Who said Fox News doesn’t criticize the GOP?

Fox And Friends’ Steve Doocy Busted Taking Obama Completely Out of Context on Business Remarks

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Steve Doocy

Steve Doocy “Worst Person in World” again?

The Propaganda Factory’s inspiration is the conservative agitprop channel Fox News. Posing as a news channel, Fox News is largely a megaphone for right-wing talk radio, red blogs and conservative think tanks like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Fox News feeds a willing tell-me-what-I-want-to-hear partisan audience slam dunk half truths proving pure conservative ideology is infallible good. Everything else is liberalism and, if you’ve watched much Fox News, you quickly realize liberalism isn’t just a misguided policy failure, it’s a moral one as well.

Kicking off Fox News’ propaganda spew each morning is Fox And Friends. Lightly camouflaged as your run of the mill fluff morning show, Fox And Friends focuses heavily on politics. It’s all about constructing conservative narratives so you’ll rarely see a Democrat on the show unless they’ve crossed the aisle to join the Republicans. Fox And Friends is so overtly biased I usually find it quite funny. However, Fox And Friends’ bovine excrement isn’t always so obvious. Jon Stewart, who also often finds Fox And Friends quite funny, provides this telling example:

– Jon’s skit starts around the :50 mark.

This is classic “fair and balanced” Fox News participating in a tag team event with right-wing pundits and team Romney.

Is Michele Bachmann Tied to Muslim Terrorists? (Updated)

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The Tea Party has added a populist lunacy to politics which is both highly amusing as it is deeply disturbing. Case in point grabbing my attention recently is the shenanigans of my favorite Tea Party loose canon, Michele Bachmann.Michele Bachmann mocked up in terrorist garb
Congresswoman Bachmann’s quirky personality compels her to scheme a way to keep her face projected on my television.
Her latest attempt is her paranoid campaign against infiltration of the United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood. Huma Abedin, Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was Congresswoman Bachmann’s first target. Smearing fellow Congressman Keith Elison (D-MN) created a second victim.

That kind of assertion certainly doesn’t comport with the Intelligence Committee, and I can say that on the record. I have no information in my committee that would indicate that Huma is anything other than an American patriot.

– Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI)

The McCarthy style attacks are not too surprisingly bovine excrement. Don’t believe me? Watch the conservative reaction. A darling of Fox News, the network heavily promoted Congresswoman Bachmann for president until her campaign clearly hit the ditch. It’s telling Congresswoman Bachmann is getting no traction on this issue on the conservative cable network’s programming. Searching their web site, it appears Congresswoman Bachmann’s main purpose on air at Fox News is a reliable and frequent critic of the Affordable Care Act. The story did bubble up to Fox News’ propaganda blogging arm, Fox Nation. Not a very high standard of legitimacy. After fellow Republicans Senator McCain and Speaker of the House Boehner hit the news criticizing her attacks, Fox News did run the wire service stories on their web site.

Did parent Fox News keep its distance because big name establishment Republicans like Senator McCain and Speaker of the House John Boehner quickly took the unusual step of criticizing a fellow party member’s strange accusations? Or perhaps it reflects their embarrassment that Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart skewers Bachmann’s clown act by lampooning how she’s actually more closely tied to Muslim Terrorists than her latest target, Huma Abedin.

Huma Abedin and husband Anthony Weiner

Not that Huma Abedin’s name hasn’t come up on Fox News’ cable fare during this storm. She’s married to disgraced former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner who the panel show The Five spent considerable time mocking. The “fair and balanced” panel comprised of 4 conservatives and 1 ineffective liberal punching bag (in this case Bob Beckel) feigned sympathy for his wife. Didn’t catch a mention of Bachmann though. The Five is typical Fox News programming featuring the triumph of conservatism over the corruption of liberalism. But I digress.

So what’s Congresswoman Bachmann’s case against Huma Abedin? She created a Rube Goldberg series of connections going through Huma’s deceased father. We all know playing the Six Degrees of Separation game is child’s play. Watch Stewart master it as he skewers Bachmann’s silliness to prove she has closer links to terrorism.

– Jon’s skit starts around the 3:50 mark.

Tea Party government infiltration conspiracy theories are nothing new. Tea Party Congressman Alan West (R-FL) is convinced many of his Democratic colleagues are Communists, a point Fox News’ Sean Hannity lent a hand to recently to sanitize hoping to tamp down blogoshere snickering. Then there’s a foundational Tea Party ideology sucking hard into the myth the Federal Reserve is entirely a private entity run by private banks for the purpose of earning massive profits. Need I mention the Birthers who occasionally breech the radical Muslim in the White House talking point?

To be fair, Congresswoman Bachmann isn’t the only mainstream politician shilling this crackpot notion. She had a couple of other Republican accomplices sitting in the back seat of the clown car: Trent Franks (AZ), Louie Gohmert (TX), Thomas Rooney (FL), and Lynn Westmoreland (GA). However, Bachmann’s effective marketing machine propels her to the foreground on the issue.

Enter right-wing crackpot Glenn Beck. How do I know he’s a crackpot? Well, even Roger Ailes, president of the Fox News conservative propaganda mill, got his fill of Beck and canned him. Since leaving Fox News Beck has prospered as a mushroom returning pretty much into the shadows of conservative punditry preaching to his huge, faithful choir. Congresswoman Bachmann not only received a warm reception on his program, he actively agitated her position. Not that I’m surprised. Beck not only is a fellow conservative who, like Michele, wears the Tea Party on his sleeve but was famous – or infamous is more like it – on his Fox News show for his own brand of wacky Six Degrees of Separation conspiracy theories elaborately drawn out on his chalk board. Prior to interviewing Congresswoman Bachmann he’d already done a documentary exposing “what this president is doing with the Muslim Brotherhood and how it is infiltrating all levels” of government.

It’s moments like this I don’t know whether to cry or laugh.

The Tea Party is the legendary ‘angry white male’ crowd Rush Limbaugh and his ilk have milked for years for profits and, in the bargain, agitated into a frenzy. Conservatives would argue Michele Bachmann and Alan West would prove the ‘angry white male’ label dated and false but statistically it largely holds. Not that race or sex is the issue. At its heart it’s the puritanical version of conservatism that’s become twisted by mostly avoiding the crucible of wider media scrutiny. In fact, the so-called “mainstream media” is completely scorned by these folks making the work of the Limbaughs and Becks of this world so much easier. The Tea Party crowd loves to be told exactly what they want to hear.

Which brings me full circle back to my premise summarized by this post’s title: Is Michele Bachmann tied to Muslim terrorists? As Fox News has taught me you can throw out any partisan smear in the form of a question without repercussion. It’s the “Hey, I was just asking” excuse. So I asked. Unlike Fox News, I won’t let the implication of my question linger past my analysis. Of course not. Jon Stewart, the source of my evidence of her dubious personal ties, is using satire to skewer Bachmann’s transparent hypocrisy and how lame her conspiracy theory is.

Jon Stewart is hilarious with his Six Degrees of Separation skit. Michele Bachmann’s similar comedy act is funny too. Yet, she’s serious. Beck’s serious. He’s got something like 6.5 million fans who largely take him seriously. The only reason this issue reached the crucible of the larger media is because of Congresswoman Bachmann’s big mouth. There’s tons of other bovine excrement created by the Becks of the world feeding the ideology of the Tea Party that never reaches the larger light of day. That’s not funny in the least.


Update

Eric Cantor

Eric Cantor

As nutty as I find Michele Bachmann, it’s interesting the way out there Tea Party representative is near the top of contribution earners in the Republican Party. She’s as powerful as she is cracked so maybe it shouldn’t surprise me that belatedly the right wing has come out to support her including my own Congressman, Eric Cantor. He’s in good company with Rush Limbaugh, Frank Gaffney and his buddy John Bolton plus Newt Gingrich.

This provides an example, in my humble opinion, of crackpot right-wing talk radio running the Republican Party. Recall, Michele Bachmann first gained traction by visiting the inbred Tea Party world of the Glenn Beck program. Toss in the support of top of the heap Rush Limbaugh and no Republican will cross the line.