Conservative radio host Mark Levin is receiving the "inaugural" Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at noon today at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual conference for right-wing activists.
The award, named after the conservative media entrepreneur who passed away in 2012, will be presented by top executives at Breitbart News, the website he founded, and by Citizens United President David Bossie.
Levin has a long history of pushing conservative lies and hateful rhetoric, including recently comparing marriage equality to incest, polygamy, and drug use, comparing supporters of the new health care law to Nazi "brown shirts," claiming "middle class" is a "Marxist term," supporting racial profiling, and likening immigration reform to the "destruction" and "unraveling" of society.
According to Breitbart News, Levin is winning the award because he "fearlessly and passionately stands up for conservatives and everyday Americans whose voices the mainstream press often tries to marginalize or silence."
CBS News has pulled its dubious 60 Minutes report on the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi following the revelation that Dylan Davies, the segment's featured "witness," has given contradictory stories about that night's events. But Fox News, which aggressively promoted the CBS segment and used it to claim that their own Benghazi reporting had been validated, has so far ignored the story's implosion in its on-air reporting.
Fox was eager to seize on the CBS report shortly after it aired. On October 28, the morning after the 60 Minutes segment, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy told viewers, "It's great that mainstream media, finally catching up. CBS did this story on Benghazi and I see criticism from the left where they go, 'You guys are covering a phony scandal.' 60 Minutes doesn't cover phony scandals."
That evening, Special Report host Bret Baier said that the 60 Minutes report "reaffirmed what we knew and had reported on." The Real Story host Gretchen Carlson and The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld also used the CBS report to prop up their network's own Benghazi reporting.
All told, Fox spent more than 47 minutes -- spread across 13 segments on 11 separate shows -- covering the CBS report on October 28. And it didn't stop there.
After serious questions were raised about Davies' credibility, the network rallied to his defense, with Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade suggesting the administration had leaked damaging information to the press in order to "discredit a seemingly very credible witness."
Davies had even suggested that Fox News had been involved in a campaign to smear him when Fox correspondent Adam Housley reported on-air that the network stopped talking to Davies after he asked them for money. Nonetheless, Fox personalities still sought to defend his credibility. (Washington Post reporter Eric Wemple points out that during Housley's explanation that Davies had asked for money, Housley said that the network had previously used him as a source for online reports; Wemple rightly asks whether the network plans to review those reports now that Davies' credibility is shot.)
Last night, after the New York Times confirmed that Davies had provided conflicting stories about his actions the night of the terror attacks, CBS pulled the segment from its website and YouTube. This morning, CBS reporter Lara Logan apologized to CBS viewers, saying, "We were wrong. We made a mistake." Logan added that 60 Minutes planned to "correct the record on our broadcast on Sunday night."
But now that CBS has pulled the report, Fox has gone silent. As of 1:45pm, the network still has not told its viewers that the 60 Minutes report has been retracted. (While it hasn't covered the latest developments on-air, FoxNews.com has posted the CBS apology and retraction.)
UPDATE: By the end of Fox News' regular programming schedule at 11 PM EST on November 8, the network had acknowledged the fact that CBS pulled its 60 Minutes report in only one 26-second segment. On Special Report, host Bret Baier stated, "CBS is backing off a report on 60 Minutes -- we told you about last week -- that relied on a source whose credibility has crumbled."
Fox News expressed outrage after President Obama, in a speech supporting the Affordable Care Act, pointed out that viewers watching Fox were likely to think the health care law is "horrible." On the Septmber 27 edition of America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer complained about the president's speech, absurdly asking, "What has been reported on Fox News Channel that is not accurate?"
Below is a small sample of the misinformation and outright lies that Fox has directed toward the Affordable Care Act:
Following a 21 hour fake filibuster by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), right-wing media figures were quick to praise the effort as "genius." Fox host Sean Hannity opened his September 25 show, Hannity, with an over-the-top montage of Sen. Cruz's filibuster alongside images of Gadsden flags, American flags, trains, and Americans getting their hair cut, while conservative radio host Bill Cunningham compared Cruz to Davy Crockett, James Bowie, and John Wayne:
After previously being called out for making sexist comments to Fox News contributor Tamara Holder, conservative radio host Bill Cunningham was invited back on opposite her on Hannity, where he once again made inappropriate remarks.
On Thursday September 19, Cunningham questioned Holder's ability to do "math," and then proceeded to tell her that she doesn't "look like a Catholic girl," but rather a "Farrah Fawcett wannabe." This followed a Fox News daytime show calling out Cunningham in June for not being "civil" when he told Holder, "Know your role and shut your mouth." Holder asked, "My role as a woman?" And Cunningham agreed, "Yeah. Yeah." Cunningham later asked Holder while berating her, "What are you going to cry?"
Cunningham's comments aren't out of character for Hannity, a show that regularly features sexist commentary:
This week marks the five-year anniversary since investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, setting in motion the financial crisis and recession. In the years since Lehman Brothers' demise, right-wing media have repeatedly and consistently argued against government involvement and regulation in the economy.
Here's a look back at some of the worst attacks:
Since the September 11 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, Fox News has played the key role in wrongfully framing that tragedy as a political scandal.
Conservative activists and elected officials have praised the network for their focus and said that without Fox, the Benghazi attacks never would have been as big of a story. For their part, Fox employees have often patted themselves on the back over their coverage while criticizing the "media at large beyond Fox News" for not giving the story more attention.
But Fox's coverage has not been entirely monolithic. On several key occasions, some of Fox's own on-air hosts and guests -- including hosts Shepard Smith, Geraldo Rivera, and Juan Williams, military analyst Jack Keane, and guest Thomas Ricks -- contradicted the network's typical mix of lies, spin, and conspiracy theories to inject actual facts about the Benghazi attacks and the administration's response.
Following a brief hiatus for a failed presidential campaign/book tour, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is returning to the world of political punditry. Starting tonight, Gingrich will serve as one of the hosts on CNN's resurrected Crossfire.
As reported by The New York Times in August, installing Gingrich as part of a Crossfire reboot was "one of the first ideas that Jeff Zucker floated on becoming president of CNN Worldwide in January," according to Sam Feist, CNN's Washington bureau chief.
The Timesprofile documents how Crossfire was scrapped in 2004 a few months after Jon Stewart appeared on the show and accused the hosts of being "partisan hacks" that were "hurting America."
According to Gingrich, the show fell apart because "it became more of a talking-points yelling match between people who thought the job was to be smarmy."
Though Gingrich has a reputation as being one of the big minds of the Republican Party -- the Times quotes Zucker praising Gingrich as "an incredibly smart, intellectual thinker" -- he has a long history of outlandish rhetoric more befitting a radio shock jock than a wonky intellectual.
Here's a short look back at some of Gingrich's lowlights as a pundit and political figure, and the type of commentary CNN viewers can probably expect with Newt on Crossfire: