Around the Web

A Madison teacher tells her second- and third-graders that Scott Walker’s actions are basically like racial segregation. There’s no other word than evil for someone who tries to make small children, who are much too young to understand the issues behind this debate, hate another human being over reasonable policy disputes through vicious, preposterous lies that no sound-minded adult could possibly believe in good faith. 

Thaddeus McCotter is officially in the presidential race. I’m withholding judgment, but given how underwhelming the rest of the GOP field is, I’m certainly willing to be won over if he’s got what it takes.

Robert Stacy McCain lays the smack down on a richly deserving scumbag with a history of defaming conservatives. If Taylor was sincerely worried about right-wing bloggers who aid America’s moral debasement, he could have started with the pro-choicers. No need to make stuff up.

Glenn Beck says he’s not playing the game anymore, and is ready to revolutionize the news and information system. Or something. I’m still skeptical that adding a subscription fee to what he’s basically already doing is going to do anything but decrease the number of people he reaches, not increase it.

Fox News Channel’s temporary post-Beck show, “The Five,” sounds really, really lame. “Hey, let’s throw together the C-listers we’ve got hanging around the studio anyway and call it a show!” (With apologies to Greg Gutfeld.)

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The Sad Spectacle of Chris Wallace vs. Jon Stewart

I don’t know which Chris Wallace Moe Lane was watching, but the one the one I saw on “Fox News Sunday” certainly didn’t “school” Jon Stewart. Not even close. He managed a satisfying zinger or two, but by and large, Wallace let the comedian walk all over him with outrageous and uncontested claims about Fox News.
Wallace first challenges Stewart’s claim that Fox News is a “relentless agenda-driven, 24-hour news opinion propaganda delivery system. Well, Wallace doesn’t actually challenge that statement; he instead asks if Stewart’s willing to say the same of the mainstream media. Why on earth would you let that stand? 
It wouldn’t exactly be difficult to refute. First, you could ask for so much as a single example of Fox’s bias, which Stewart doesn’t do at any point in the interview. Second, you could point out that Fox’s mostly conservative commentary programs are separate from its hard news reporting, which is impartial. Third, you could ask Stewart to explain the high number of liberal hosts and paid contributors on Fox, like Andrew Napolitano, Geraldo Rivera, Shepard Smith, Alan Colmes, Ellis Henican, Juan Williams, Marc Lamont Hill, Susan Estrich, Ellen Ratner, Kirsten Powers, or Bob Beckel. Even Bill O’Reilly is hardly a doctrinaire conservative—the guy believes in global warming, routinely bashes oil companies for “price gouging”, and has been known to trash conservative talk radio for being too anti-Obama for his tastes. Can of the competition boast a comparable number of conservative talent?
Anyway, Wallace instead asked if Stewart would be willing to say the same thing about the mainstream media. Predictably, he wasn’t:
WALLACE: You don’t think the New York Times is a liberal organization?
STEWART: No.
WALLACE: Pushing a liberal agenda?
STEWART: The New York Times, no. I think they are to a certain extent. Do I think they’re relentlessly activist? No. In a purely liberal partisan way? No, I don’t.
The entire hour could have been spent listing examples of the MSM’s left-wing bias, and for Stewart to claim he doesn’t see it is phony on its face. Wallace gave him a recent one: the New York Times and Washington Post’s call for their readers to help them go dirt-digging through Sarah Palin’s recently-released emails. Why pull such a stunt, and why didn’t they do the same with the 2,000-page ObamaCare bill?
STEWART: Because I think their bias is towards sensationalism and laziness. I wouldn’t say it’s towards a liberal agenda. It’s light fluff. So, it’s absolutely within the wheelhouse.
So Fox is a partisan propaganda machine, but their competitors’ misdeeds are merely apolitical grabs at juicy headlines. So it didn’t occur to anyone at the NYT or WaPo that there might be a few sensationalistic tidbits in a 2,000-page piece of legislation that many of its supporters didn’t even read? Can’t Fox’s (alleged, unidentified) misdeeds just as easily be attributed to “sensationalism and laziness”? And if sensationalism alone is the lifeblood of the MSM, then how does Stewart explain the MSM’s lack of interest in, say, the John Edwards love child story? What could be more sensationalistic than a man who was almost Vice President fathering a child with a mistress while his wife was dying of cancer?
Next came some arguing about whether Stewart’s primarily a comedian or an activist, which misses the point—lies are lies, no matter who says them. And regardless of what Stewart labels himself, many of America’s youth do turn to him as their primary source for political news.
The diversion did, however, lead to this incredible nugget from Stewart:
STEWART: You can’t understand because of the world you live in that there is not a designed ideological agenda on my part to affect partisan change because that’s the soup you swim in. And I appreciate that. And I understand that. It reminds me of, you know — you know, ideological regimes. They can’t understand that there is free media other places because they receive marching orders.
Here Stewart is using his own lie about Fox as proof Wallace must be wrong about him. Did Wallace call him out for it? Nope.
Wallace next gave another example of liberal MSM propagandizing: Diane Sawyer leading a hard-news story with an outright lie about Arizona’s immigration law. Stewart’s reaction? “That’s sensationalist and somewhat lazy. But I don’t understand how it’s partisan.” Of course.
Perhaps the biggest moment of the whole interview came a bit later, when Stewart—angrily—asked:
STEWART: In polls, who is the most consistently misinformed media viewers, the most consistently misinformed? Fox. Fox viewers. Consistently. Every poll.
How did Chris Wallace respond to such a brutal, direct attack on Fox News Channel’s credibility?
He didn’t.
Not a word about whether it was true. Instead he changed the subject to raunchiness on Comedy Central. Incredible.
Fortunately, PolitiFact decided it was worth checking, and, unsurprisingly, it turned out to be false:
So we have three Pew studies that superficially rank Fox viewers low on the well-informed list, but in several of the surveys, Fox isn’t the lowest, and other general-interest media outlets — such as network news shows, network morning shows and even the other cable news networks — often score similarly low. Meanwhile, particular Fox shows — such as The O’Reilly Factor and Sean Hannity’s show — actually score consistently well, occasionally even outpacing Stewart’s own audience.

Meanwhile, the other set of knowledge surveys, from worldpublicopinion.org, offer mixed support for Stewart. The 2003 survey strikes us as pretty solid, but the 2010 survey has been critiqued for its methodology. 

PolitiFact’s look at the findings is worth checking out in full, as are takedowns they link to by John Lott and Brent Bozell, but they actually give too much credit to World Public Opinion. Here’s the gist of the 2003 study:
It asked three questions: “Is it your impression that the U.S. has or has not found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al-Qaida terrorist organization?” “Since the war with Iraq ended, is it your impression that the US has or has not found Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?” And whether, “The majority of people [worldwide] favor the US having gone to war.”
The obvious problem is that the first two “wrong” answers aren’t actually wrong. The study’s authors can nitpick about what evidence they think respondents should have considered “clear,” but just because people were confident Saddam had terrorist connections and WMDs doesn’t make them “misinformed”; in fact, the evidence of Iraq’s terror ties and WMD pursuits was more likely to actually get covered at Fox, making their viewers better informed than the MSM’s. The only question Fox viewers really do get wrong is the global opinion one—but anyone who remembers Fox’s coverage of the Iraq War at the time (which I do) can tell you that they didn’t try to whitewash anti-American sentiment; in fact, whether America should “go it alone” was a frequent topic of debate.

So the truth behind Stewart’s big, angry beef with Fox was complete garbage, and where a better interviewer could have used it to completely destroy him, Wallace let him get away with it scot-free.

New on NewsReal – Shock: Media Matters Catches Political Talker Talking Politics

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Discussing perceived political angles to tragedies, especially as they’re happening, is always touchy. Even if there is a valid policy observation to be made, you’re opening yourself up to ready-made accusations of insensitivity, partisanship, and opportunism. So it should come as little surprise that the leftist smear merchants at Media Matters are raking Sean Hannity over the coals for a “five-minute Obama-bashing session” during his coverage of the disaster in Japan:

HANNITY: Apparently, the president was groggy when he answered that call, because on Saturday, hours after the quake struck, he went golfing. And later that evening he attended a dinner with members of the mainstream Obama-mania media. And today, the president spent his afternoon filling out his NCAA brackets for ESPN […]

DANA PERINO, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He probably feels like if he would succumb to all the pressure, to comment on everything, he wouldn’t have time even to go to the bathroom. But what surprises me is –

HANNITY: You mean he wouldn’t have time to shoot hoops?

PERINO: Well — shoot hoops, play golf — but the other thing is, remember, from the communication standpoint what they’ve done. Today, he did three interviews, with regional news outlets in key battle ground states for 2012. I mean, they are starting very, very early. He still has yet I believe to do an interview with NHK which is the main news outlet for Japan. How reassuring it would be for the Japanese to hear from the president right now.

Another communications points, Steve, is in January, when Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot, that morning President Obama put out a photograph from him in the White House situation room, even after we knew it was lone gunman, I mean, the situation room?

And then Saturday, their only communications was a radio address on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which had obviously been taped days before and they’re not going to change it, and his video of him playing golf.

On the one hand, I don’t want to see conservatives taking this line of attack too far. As we’ve discussed before, presidents are never really off-duty. And while it certainly doesn’t speak well of Obama’s PR team that nobody thought the president’s current schedule of sports, photo ops, and vacations would look improper when juxtaposed against foreign deaths and devastation, the fact is that there’s just not much for the President of the United States’ to do about overseas natural disasters.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Al-Jazeera Is Basically Like Fox News, Right?

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

The moral equivalency leftists are capable of never fails to sicken. Whether driven by intolerance of opposition or cluelessness about the real world, many think nothing of comparing those with whom they disagree—often unfavorably—to the most heinous monsters on the planet. Case in point: our old friend Ellen of the loser-packed Fox-hating blog NewsHounds is outrageously outraged that Bill O’Reilly would dare impugn the patriotism of left-wingers like Sam Donaldson and Alan Colmes for their defense of…er, Al-Jazeera:

It’s not as though Donaldson praised Al Jazeera for saying anything anti-American or attacking America. No, attacking an American or Americans is something that Fox News does every day whenever a Democrat or liberal is discussed.


Apparently, praising Al Jazeera for doing something right is completely wrong (and anti-American) because, according to O’Reilly, “Al Jazeera makes a living blaming most problems in the Middle East on the USA and Israel.”

That must be completely different from the way Fox News pundits like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin and yes, Bill O’Reilly blame most problems on American liberals.

“Talking Points can provide hundreds, hundreds of examples of anti-Semitism and hate-America rhetoric displayed on Al Jazeera, the network Sam Donaldson admires,” O’Reilly sneered.

And we can provide just as many examples of anti-Semitism and hate-America rhetoric on Fox News. In addition to the hate mongering against Americans, there’s Sean Hannity’s friendly interview with anti-Semite Andy Martin (for which Hannity has never apologized), another lapdog interview with Mel Gibson and Glenn Beck’s anti-Semitic dogwhistles about George Soros. In fact, those dogwhistles were so offensive to so many Jews that 400 rabbis recently wrote to Rupert Murdoch asking him to rein in Beck. Fox News’ response? Calling the rabbis “a George Soros backed left-wing political organization.”
Colmes did not apologize or hedge or try to curry favor as so many other Democrats on Fox do. Noting that Egypt had shut down Al Jazeera, he said to O’Reilly, “I would think a populist like you would support Al Jazeera and freedom of the press… I would think that as a journalist, you would take the side of Al Jazeera.”

O’Reilly claimed that his beef with Al Jazeera was its lack of balance, that there was never anyone on to counter its anti-American message.

Oh, you mean the way there’s never anyone on to counter Glenn Beck’s attacks on President Obama, his former advisor Van Jones, George Soros or 78 year-old Frances Fox Piven?

First, let’s dispense with the usual stuff: the lack of balance at Fox News is a lie, and so is the anti-Semitism garbage.

No, what’s noteworthy is that Ellen doesn’t even try to argue that Al-Jazeera isn’t an anti-American, Jew-hating mouthpiece for Islamic radicalism, but says that Fox News is just as bad anyway.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Media Matters Incites a Word War with Fox News Over Term "Public Option"

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Language is a powerful tool. Those who define what words mean (or are at least believed to mean) can drastically influence our government and culture. According to the Left’s lexicon, killing is “choice,” racial discrimination is “affirmative action,” thought control is “sensitivity training,” and property confiscation is “economic justice.” But does the Right play similar propaganda games?

At the Daily Beast, Howard Kurtz seems to think so. Today he reports on a “new” Media Matters attack on Fox News.

As the health-care debate was heating up in the summer of 2009, Republican pollster Frank Luntz offered Sean Hannity some advice. 

Luntz, who counseled the GOP on how to sell the 1994 Contract With America, told the Fox News host to stop using President Obama’s preferred term for a key provision.

“If you call it a public option, the American people are split,” he explained. “If you call it the government option, the public is overwhelmingly against it.”

“A great point,” Hannity declared. “And from now on, I’m going to call it the government option, because that’s what it is.”  

On Oct. 27, the day after Senate Democrats introduced a bill with a public insurance option from which states could opt out, Bill Sammon, a Fox News vice president and Washington managing editor, sent the staff a memo. Sammon is a former Washington Times reporter. 

“Please use the term ‘government-run health insurance,’ or, when brevity is a concern, ‘government option,’ whenever possible,” the memo said.





The possibility that Sammon’s motives were partisan and that he was trying to influence Fox’s viewers against ObamaCare can’t be completely dismissed—“government option” polls the way Republicans want it to, and as Kurtz points out, Sammon is a right-leaning commentator who wrote several conservative books. Accordingly, I have scant patience for Sammon objecting, “Have I said things where I take a conservative view? Give me specifics.”

That said, there’s an obvious flip side that Kurtz and Media Matters ignore.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – NewsHounds’ Spitballs Couldn’t Hit the Broad Side of Sean Hannity’s Mansion

My latest NewsRealBlog post:
Remember NewsHounds? These Fox-hating peddlers of arguments that are really, really lame even by lefty standards (the most spectacular of which was falsely accusing Johnny Dollar’s Place of supporting plagiarism using one of my own quotes) never seem to run out of spitballs to shoot at Sean Hannity. In the blog’s latest petty attack, Ellen pulls Hannity over for a TWR—Talking While Rich:

In his Great American Panel segment Friday night (12/3/10), one of many discussions in which Hannity whined about the unfair tax burden on the rich, Hannity asked, “So does the issue of class warfare… does this work, is this a winner for the Democrats?”

Frank Donatelli, GOPAC chairman, said no, but that it would “mobilize the liberal base… It just drives them crazy… They’re demanding tax increases on the most productive citizens.”


Of course, Hannity did not consider THAT class warfare.

Er, no. Talking about class warfare is not engaging in class warfare. Leftists are so pathetically desperate to paint conservatives as hypocrites that they’ll settle for anything, no matter how little sense it makes. Ellen might throw around “class warfare” to describe simply bringing up the subject of wealth in the context of one’s political opponents, but the term actually means something: pitting one economic class against another, urging one to hate and resent the other simply for having more. To demonstrate, I give you…Ellen’s own words.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

Around the Web

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of Suzanne Venker’s 3-part NewsReal series on why marriage matters.

You’ve gotta be kidding me: someone’s turning Maureen Dowd into a sexed-up action heroine in a new comic book? It’s so absurd that it would be hilarious…if not for the fact that the plot is yet another way in which entertainment outlets are injecting a false narrative of the Valerie Plame saga into the national consciousness. Historical revisionism is no laughing matter.

First Geraldo Rivera revealed how “open-minded” he was about what “really” happened on 9/11, and now losertarian Judge Andrew Napolitano has joined the Truther brigade. It’s way past time for Fox News to can both these clowns.

Comedy great Leslie Nielsen, dead at 84. I plan to take some time this weekend to watch Airplane! in his memory; I’d encourage all of you to do the same.

Donald Douglas slaps around a richly-deserving losertarian blogger.

Neil reminds us that ethanol is a dud.

And this Thanksgiving, I’m really, really thankful for a little wonder-virus called Stuxnet.