WorldNetDaily, which Alex Pareene appropriately dubbed the "biggest, dumbest wingnut site on the Web," has been cashing in on birther nonsense for several years now. If you head to their online "Superstore" you'll find everything you need to advertise your detachment from reality, including "Where's the Birth Certificate?" bumper stickers for your car, signs for your yard, t-shirts, and more.
Their latest - and probably biggest - cash grab is noted liar Jerome Corsi's upcoming book, Where's The Birth Certificate? (Answer: in Hawaii.) Jerome Corsi is a discredited clown who has been embarrassing himself for years over the birther "issue," including going on Fox & Friends before the '08 election and accusing the administration of posting a "fake" certificate online that, according to a "good analysis of it on the internet" had "been shown to have watermarks from Photoshop." He also suggested to G. Gordon Liddy in 2008 that Obama was visiting Hawaii not just to be with his then-dying grandmother, but to also do... something... relating to his birth certificate.
Nevertheless, Corsi's book, published by WND, hit #1 on Amazon's bestseller list this week, thanks in no small part to prominent promotion from Drudge (and a variety of conservative sites like Fox Nation and Glenn Beck's The Blaze).
Continuing Fox News' full embrace of birtherism, WND CEO Joseph Farah will reportedly appear on David Asman's program on the Fox Business Network tonight to "talk birth certificate" and discuss Corsi's upcoming book. This should be a friendly place for Farah to promote Corsi's book, considering Asman's recent assertion that before he declares Obama was born in the U.S., he wants to "see all the evidence."
During an interview on Bill Cunningham's radio show last month, Farah claimed to talk to Fox's lead birther Sean Hannity "every day." Farah also suggested that he had been blacklisted by Fox over birtherism: "I was on Fox regularly before this... the minute we started on this campaign, the minute we started putting billboards up across this country, it stopped."
Looks like the ban has been lifted.
During a combative interview with David Shuster this morning, Andrew Breitbart said that "Glenn Beck threw me under the bus" over the Shirley Sherrod story. Breitbart reportedly told the New York Observer the same thing: "Next thing I know, I'm under complete attack without the support of Glenn Beck, who I thought was somebody I could count on ... He threw me under the bus."
Breitbart is likely referring to the fact that after promoting Breitbart's edited Sherrod tape on his radio program and claiming it was evidence of Sherrod "discriminating against white farmers," Beck went on his Fox News program that night and offered support for Sherrod. (In his typically dishonest fashion, Beck has since tried to rewrite history to erase the fact that he ever promoted the edited tape.)
Breitbart likely thought he could "count on" Beck due to Beck's regular promotion of various Breitbart-promoted stories up that point -- Beck hyped the release of O'Keefe's ACORN tapes after Breitbart gave him exclusive access.
These latest comments come after Breitbart took a swipe at Beck and his 8-28 rally on MSNBC yesterday and Breitbart's comments to the Daily Caller that Beck has been trying to "position himself against his conservative competitors to try and appease Media Matters."
Earlier today, Obama released a message commemorating Passover. As reported by Haaretz, Obama "likened the holiday's story to the revolutions sweeping the Middle East":
This year, that ancient instruction is reflected in the daily headlines as we see modern stories of social transformation and liberation unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa.
Against the backdrop of change, we continue to pray for peace between Israel and her neighbors, while reaffirming our enduring commitment to Israel's security.
As they reflexively do with everything Obama does, conservative bloggers immediately started attacking him for his statement.
Pam Geller headlined her post about Obama's message "Obama's Ultimate Insult to the Jews on Pesach." She attacked him as "wicked, vicious" for praising the "the rise of Islamic annihilationists in Middle East." She said that the story is evidence of "how sick his soul is" and concluded that it's "hard not to hate this guy" (the italics are hers).
In a post at his Gateway Pundit blog, Jim Hoft labeled Obama "tone deaf" for his statement.
And here's where it gets funny.
On the list of "Most Shameless Political Hacks in America," Fox News political analyst and former Bush adviser Karl Rove certainly ranks near the top.
In recent years, when he hasn't been rewriting history to shelter his former boss from any responsibility for the current state of the country or forwarding the GOP Smear of the Day, Rove has spent much of his time attacking Obama and Democrats for doing precisely the types of things the Bush administration and Republicans did during Bush's tenure in the White House.
It's a sad commentary on the state of Fox News that someone with Rove's storied history of dishonesty has seemingly emerged as a voice of reason at the network.
On Friday night, Rove went on Greta Van Susteren's show and labeled Donald Trump a "joke candidate" who is "off there in the nutty right" due to his "full embrace of the birther issue." Rove's harsh words place him at odds with several of his Fox colleagues.
For a nice contrast, watch some of the interview that Sean Hannity conducted with Trump that aired on Hannity just before Rove's interview with Greta, during which Hannity helped Trump promote his birtherism. Hannity later attributed Trump's popularity to his "torpedos of truth" and the fact that Trump is taking on "controversial issues." He also aired graphics like this one during his show:
Hannity certainly hasn't been alone in his Trump boosterism at Fox. This morning, during Trump's regular Monday segment on Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy dipped his toe into the birther swamp by saying that Obama "could end" birtherism "simply" by releasing his birth certificate.
Fox's senior vice president of business news Neil Cavuto has defended Trump as a serious presidential candidate and declared that "we could do worse." Cavuto thinks Trump "talks like a boxer" and is "frank."
During an appearance on Fox & Friends Saturday this morning, Fox News host and putative Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was asked about Donald Trump's soaring poll numbers and Karl Rove's comments on Greta Van Susteren's show last night that Trump is a "joke candidate":
Setting aside the ethical problems inherent in Fox News hosting one of their own employees to discuss the poll numbers of one of his potential GOP primary opponents, Huckabee's comments about Trump's birtherism are notable. According to Huckabee, who doesn't "think the birther issue is a good issue" and doesn't "agree with it," people aren't "rallying behind Donald Trump because of the birther issue."
But the PPP poll that Huckabee and the Fox crew were discussing tells a different story.
According to PPP's write-up, "only 38% of Republican primary voters say they're willing to support a candidate for President next year who firmly rejects the birther theory." Among that 38%, Trump polls third (with 17%) behind both Romney and Huckabee.
Trump's numbers are considerably better among those who are "not sure" whether they could support someone who outright rejects birtherism, and soar among the 23% of GOP primary voters who say they are only willing to vote for a birther. Among the latter group, Trump's support hits 37%, nearly 24 points higher than the 2nd place finishers (Huckabee and Palin in a tie).
While Trump's birtherism doesn't explain his entire appeal to GOP primary voters, it certainly seems to help him immensely. And Huckabee's own network - and Sean Hannity in particular - has played a large role in promoting Trump and moving the inane, discredited birther conspiracy from chain emails and WorldNetDaily articles into the Republican mainstream.
When walking infomercial Dick Morris visited Florida last October, he reportedly said that GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott "is a criminal who belongs in jail not the governor's office." Asked about Scott's opponent, Alex Sink, Morris reportedly said "She's a terrible candidate... her opponent is a criminal."
As reported by The Hill, Morris also told conservative magazine NewsMax last July that Scott is "not the tea party candidate" because he "fleeced and robbed the federal government and the taxpayers." He added that "the only way" Scott is "qualified to be governor is that he's very experienced -- he stole from the taxpayers once, so he's really experienced, and he'll steal from them again."
But that was months ago, long before Morris had a new book to sell about how to "translate this avalanche of votes" for the GOP in the 2010 election "into power and action in Washington."
In a post on his blog hawking his latest book, Morris listed Scott among the "reform Governors" who are "leading a movement for fundamental change in America."
Morris also listed Scott among his chosen "courageous governors" in his column outlining the "GOP's budget dream team" for The Hill this week.
What a difference a few months (and a new book) make.
This morning, Fox & Friends hosted "renowned Christian minister and author" John Hagee to promote his latest book and discuss, in host Gretchen Carlson's words, if America "is heading to a disaster it cannot survive."
Carlson interviewed Hagee for several minutes about Israel and the national debt, while chyrons like "On The Path To Disaster: Geopolitical & Economical [sic] Storms Brewing" appeared on-screen.
At the end of the segment, Carlson plugged Hagee's book, Can America Survive?, as "great" and said to him that "you also touch on the religion in your book."
"Touch on the religion" doesn't quite cover it.
As we detailed last year when Glenn Beck plugged Hagee's book (note: Hagee was appearing today to promote the "updated" version), Can America Survive? is about how the world is fast-approaching Biblical Armageddon. Hagee buttresses his hypothesis with flimsy interpretations of "Bible prophecy," and writes that the global economic crisis will be hastened by the sudden Rapture of billions of Christians, which will pave the road for the arrival of the Antichrist.
For Americans who get their history primarily through postage stamps, a startling trend has emerged recently: stamps have become "childish, silly, and racist."
That's the concern of American Thinker writer Alan Fraser, who reports that while "for years we would use stamps with the figures of Lincoln, FDR, Washington represented," a "5 minute cruise of the USPS website shows that these kinds of men have been erased."
What has taken their place? According to Fraser, "Polar bears, lots of women and blacks no one has ever heard of."
Take it away, Alan:
There's Julia de Burgos (who?), Mother Teresa (an Albanian saint), Oscar Micheaux (a black guy I never heard of), Kate Smith, Katharine Hepburn, Love, Pansies in a Basket, the Year of the Rabbit (Forever, a Navajo necklace, Anna Julia Cooper (a black woman I never heard of), Adopt a Shelter Pet, Butterfly, Tiffany lamps, Chinese bracelets, Kwanzaa, Mary Lasker (who?), Richard Wright (another black guy), playing cards, balloons, daisies, cherries, all the NFL Teams, Hollywood personalities, the Simpsons, and don't forget...you guessed it...the all-important-never-thing-that-one-cannot-know-too-much-about...wait for it... Negro Baseball Leagues.
Oh, and there is a stamp of the U.S flag and one of the Liberty Bell as well as one of Reagan and a white cartoonist.
That's it. Oh, and there's also some kind of Muslim stamp. No stamp that reminds us of September 11th, nothing of the landing at Normandy (everyone's including even Hollywood's favorite war), none of our aircraft carriers or the fighter jets of today, no Eisenhower, Grant (who liberated more black Americans than any black man ever did), Audie Murphy, Thomas Edison, George Patton, Lewis and Clark, or Chesty Puller.
It's almost as though a law had been enacted to prevent the intelligent representation of American History through its postage stamps.
And before you dismiss American Thinker as merely a collection of fringe conservatives complaining about accidentally learning something about black people from their postage stamps, keep in mind that it remains an influential conservative website.
Rush Limbaugh regularly cites articles from the Thinker on his radio show, and even promoted their conspiracy alleging Obama secretly skipped his daughter's soccer game last year to do unsavory, unspecified things while the press wasn't looking. Limbaugh has said [subscription required] that it is "one of my favorite and most thoughtful blogs."
As we've repeatedly documented, the line separating Fox's news from its opinion program is an illusion.
For those of you lucky enough to not spend much of your waking hours immersed in the world of Fox News, in can be hard to concisely capture the extent to which their news programming just functions as a slightly toned-down version of the over-the-top GOP boosterism of their "opinion" shows.
But in a tease for today's America's Newsroom, Bill Hemmer managed to do exactly that:
After framing the budget battle as "not a question of cutting, it's a question of how much," Hemmer announced the guests for today's program:
HEMMER: Our lineup: Karl Rove, Stephen Hayes, Mike Pence, Maria Cardona. John Bolton tackles the battles in the Middle East, Frank Luntz on the union battles at home, and Peter King on the trial at Gitmo for KSM. Wow, we'll see you in ten minutes with Martha and me here on America's Newsroom.
For good measure, in the opening minutes of the program, Hemmer's co-host Martha MacCallum announced that GOP Rep. Paul Ryan would also be a guest today. (Based on Hemmer's previous praise of "serious," "smart" Ryan, I'm not predicting a hard-hitting interview.)
So, for those keeping track, that is three Republican members of Congress (Ryan, King, Pence), two former Bush administration officials (Rove and Bolton), a Weekly Standard columnist (Hayes), and a conservative pollster/messaging guru (Luntz). For balance, there's one Democratic strategist (Cardona).
As Jon Stewart said in last week in his segment highlighting Fox news exec Bill Sammon admitting to lying on-air about then-candidate Obama, "[w]e're all smart enough to discern the line between hard news and opinion on Fox, much in the way that you can taste all the individual ingredients that go into soup."
Any claim Fox News has to being a legitimate news organization is premised on the supposed wall that separates their "news" and "opinion" programming.
When Fox execs or network personalities are challenged on the conservative tilt of the network, they often trot out this defense. Writing in October 2009 about the then-blossoming feud between the White House and Fox News, the New York Times' Brian Stelter reported that, "Fox argues that its news hours -- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays -- are objective."
In the article, Fox News senior vice president for news, Michael Clemente, is quoted as saying: "The average consumer certainly knows the difference between the A section of the newspaper and the editorial page."
Special Report anchor Bret Baier spent much of his interview with Jon Stewart last week championing the supposed division between Fox's news and editorial content. Similar to Clemente, Baier said that Fox "respect[s] the viewers' ability to discern the difference" between their news and opinion programming.
The problem, of course, is that the division between the news and opinion programming at Fox is a farce. In addition to regularly promoting dubious stories and supposed scandals that damage liberals or benefit conservatives, Fox's Washington news bureau is run by a political hack.
It's not realistic to think that all journalists are automatons that have no political leanings -- they are human. A problem arises when their politics infect their news coverage, and that's what has clearly happened in Fox News' Washington bureau under the heavy hand of Bill Sammon.
So, for the sake of argument, let's set aside the fact that Sammon has fundraised for conservative groups and organizations. Ignore that he wrote numerous fawning books about the Bush campaigns and administration, which were published by a company that exists to prop up the conservative movement. And pay no attention to his Fox News colleagues saying he is "conservative" and "coming from that point of view."
What matters is whether Sammon lets his political leanings infect his supposed "journalism," and over the course of the past few months, that has become undeniably clear.
Last year, a source with knowledge of the situation at Fox's Washington bureau told Media Matters that Sammon shapes the network's news coverage in an "often brutish way." A separate Fox source told Media Matters that they "keep hearing things from staffers about Sammon," and that "when news is being tampered with, you have to worry."
As evidenced by the series of internal Fox emails Media Matters has released over the past several months, Fox's news is certainly being "tampered with."