This week, we reported on a staff email from Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon questioning the "veracity of climate change data" and directing the network's journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question." While most of the nation's media have reported or commented on the story, Fox News has conspicuously avoided passing reference to it. Even Fox News' so-called media criticism show has ignored the story.
During its Saturday broadcast, Fox News Watch touched on a variety of issues from this week, including former President Clinton's return to the White House press briefing room and Larry King's departure from CNN. Host Jon Scott and the panel found time to talk about why the Tea Party wasn't chosen as Time's "Person of the Year," the Media Research Center's "Poison Tea Pot Award," and it even allowed Greg Gutfeld to get in a dig or two at the "No Label" campaign. But amidst all this, it didn't find any time to talk about Sammon's email.
As we reported, Sammon sent the email during crucial global climate change talks in Denmark, a mere 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was "on track to be the warmest [decade] on record." At the time, Fox was relentlessly engaged in promoting the fabricated "Climategate" scandal, which revolved around misrepresentations of emails sent to and from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. But as we noted, the "scandal" did not undermine the scientific basis for global warming. Moreover, scientists, independent fact-checkers, and several investigations have since confirmed that the CRU emails do not undermine the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet.
That leaked email followed on the heels of another: Last week we reported on another email sent by Sammon to Fox journalists at the peak of the health care reform debate, ordering them to avoid using the term "public option" and instead use variations of "government option." That email echoed advice from a prominent Republican pollster on how to help turn public opinion against health care reform.
This is just the latest example of Fox News Watch avoiding stories of its network's ethical problems. As we previously noted, the program has kept silent about Fox host Andrew Napolitano's remarks that he believed the government lied about the attacks on 9-11. The program also failed to comment on the five potential Republican candidates for president Fox News employs.
To Fox News' John Stossel, gender inequality and sexism simply no longer exist. In an appearance on Fox News' America Live yesterday, Stossel railed against Title IX, the 1972 legislation that mandated that schools and colleges getting federal funds provide the same opportunities for girls as boys. Stossel dismissed Title IX as legislation by "bully lawyers" whose "conceit and error" resulted in their believing that "just as many girls want to play sports as boys." He also stated that Title IX no longer is needed because, well, according to him, we live in a post-sexist world.
After host Megyn Kelly argued that, sometimes, "you need Uncle Sam to come in and say, hey, be fair to the little girls," Stossel summed up his attack on Title IX this way:
STOSSEL: No. No, the school's trying to attract customers. If the customers want this, and more girls do want to play sports, it will happen. But the conceit and the error of the Title IX lawyers is that the demand is equal -- that just as many girls want to play sports as boys. And I don't think that's true.
But the rapid growth of girls participating in sports since Title IX's passage completely undermines Stossel's argument.
It seems patently clear now that Andrew Breitbart will probably never accept responsibility for what he did to Shirley Sherrod. Indeed, here we are, six months later, and the conservative activist is still busy spinning his involvement, furiously claiming that the "intended target" of the two-minute video he posted that got her fired was the NAACP, "not Shirley Sherrod." "The target," he repeats in a December 6 post on his Big Government website, was "unambiguously clear" and so was the context, he insists, which was "excruciatingly clear." At the same time, he laments, "[b]efore the article and clips were analyzed in their entirety and put into its proper context, President Obama via the USDA chief Tom Vilsack, fired Shirley Sherrod."
From Breitbart's post:
My 1400-word article featuring two separate video clips of Shirley Sherrod speaking before the NAACP hit the Internet on Big Government. Before the article and clips were analyzed in their entirety and put into its proper context, President Obama via the USDA chief Tom Vilsack, fired Shirley Sherrod.
The story and the videos perfectly hit their intended target -- which was the NAACP, not Shirley Sherrod. Ben Jealous apologized immediately for the NAACP crowd's positive response to the moment when Sherrod describes one time when she treated a white farmer differently from how she would treat a black one.
My BigGovernment.com story made the target unambiguously clear: "Sherrod's racist tale is received by the NAACP audience with nodding approval and murmurs of recognition and agreement. Hardly the behavior of the group now holding itself up as the supreme judge of another groups' racial tolerance."
All of this was put into excruciatingly clear context in a Big Government post, which included the two video clips, both received from an anonymous source who also described in broad strokes that she later sent the farmer to a white lawyer for help.
"Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help," I wrote. "But she decides that he should get help from 'one of his own kind.' She refers him to a white lawyer."
This is quite the astounding way for Breitbart to absolve himself of all blame, considering that, in the same post, he declares: "I strongly believed, and still believe, that I had irrefutable evidence" of racism on the part of the NAACP and it was "unambiguously clear" from the 2-minute video that Sherrod was telling a "racist tale."
Indeed, in the July 19 post titled, "Video Proof: The NAACP Awards Racism," that started it all, Breitbart claimed to show "video evidence of racism coming from a federal appointee and NAACP award recipient." Trumpeting Sherrod's testimony in the deceptively cropped video clip he posted as a "racist tale," he wrote that "Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer." Breitbart also posted a tweet asking, "Will Eric Holder's DOJ hold accountable fed appointee Shirley Sherrod for admitting practicing racial discrimination?"
Glenn Beck explains that the Death Star and the Matrix are real.
In recent weeks, Fox News' Glenn Beck has railed against the proposed food safety legislation making its way through Congress, claiming it is a way for the government to "control your food" and ultimately "control you." This is just the latest in a long line of hysterics from conservatives regarding efforts to make Americans' food safer and healthier.
In a November 24 blog post, The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg took a hammer to Glenn Beck's continued effort to demonize Aryeh Neier, the president of George Soros' Open Society Institute, exposing Beck's nonsensical conspiracy that Soros is really trying to destabilize American democracy (and take over the world). Hertzberg completely upends Beck's portrayal of Neier as a "radical, violent, subversive, rage-maddened, [and] riot-inciting" individual, pointing out facts that Beck rarely, if ever, bothers himself with.
For days, as Hertzberg notes, we were treated to an anti-Soros-themed "sideshow" in which Neier, who helped found Human Rights Watch and served as the national executive director of the ACLU, was described as "the founder of the violent activist group SDS," Students for a Democratic Society. Beck would go on to connect SDS with the "Days of Rage riots" and the Weather Underground and call their activities "subversive." But as we've noted, in his 2003 autobiography, Neier writes that he had "little influence" on SDS and opposed its direction because he was "anti-Soviet and anti-Communist."
In sum, (a) Neier was not the founder of SDS, merely its re-namer; and, more important, (b) he parted company with it because, in his view, it had become insufficiently anti-Soviet and anti-Communist. ("I disapproved of SDS's leftism," he adds in "Taking Liberties.")
As we further stated, as of 1962, SDS opposed violence, as the group's Port Huron statement says. Hertzberg notes that the Port Huron statement reads: "As democrats we are in basic opposition to the communist system." He concludes:
Remember: This is the SDS that Neier broke with -- the naïve, romantic, painfully earnest SDS of "participatory democracy," whose slogan as late as the 1964 election was "Part of the way with LBJ." The SDS of "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh! NLF is gonna win!" and "Long Live the Victory of the People's War!" and "Off the pig!" was still many years in the future. Neier was long gone by the time SDS went crazy, morphed into the Weather Underground, and started staging idiotic stunts like the Days of Rage (smashing store windows in the Chicago Loop) and committing acts of petty terrorism (such as setting off a homemade bomb in a Pentagon men's room).
Neier was the very opposite of what Beck says he was. But, given that Beck's basic thesis is that George Soros's heroic (and successful) efforts to undermine Communist dictatorships prove that he is trying to undermine American democracy, we should not be too surprised. The only question is whether Beck is a liar, an ignoramus, or a charlatan. I'm voting for all three.
Hertzberg previously criticized Beck for citing a New Yorker piece while trying to portray Soros as an anti-Semite.
According to Glenn Beck, George Soros is connected to pretty much everything that's bad in the universe, but today, Beck settled on trying to make the case that Soros is somehow behind WikiLeaks, the organization that recently posted secret government communications on its website. Beck claimed that Soros is using Wikileaks to "cause chaos" and bring down America using, as always, the nefarious "bottom-up, top-down, and inside out" technique of "George Soros operative" Van Jones.
Weaving a tale that began with organizations supporting accused leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning, Beck continued:
BECK: Then you have the Movement for a Democratic Society. Now what is the Movement for a Democratic Society? ... It's the adult counterpart of the Students for a Democratic Society. So it's like the Gray Panthers and the Black Panthers. The Gray Panthers are the old ones. Now, who's the guy who started SDS back in the 1960s? He's the guy who's now running the Open Society Institute for George Soros. Well, so, that's -- that's good.
WikiLeaks founders, when they started to talk about the need to raise $5 million, they said the only ones that had this kind of money that could do what they were looking to do was the CIA or George Soros. And they complained that the initial round of publicity had, quote, "affected our delicate negotiations with the Open Society Institute."
Now, I'm sure George Soros -- because he's come out and he has said he is so against this WikiLeaks thing. He is so against it. WikiLeaks advisory board member was the director of the China office of Human Rights Watch, which is Soros-funded. And the WikiLeaks editor -- you know he's hiding out in Great Britain -- he's represented by attorney Mark Stephens, which is weird, because Stephens also does pro bono work for the Open Society Institute. Isn't that weird, huh?
So let's see if I've got this straight: An organization that supports the accused WikiLeaks leaker is "the adult counterpart" to another organization, founded by a man who is now president of Soros' Open Society Foundation. While looking for funding, "WikiLeaks founders" allegedly mentioned the "CIA" and "George Soros" and the group was reportedly in "negotiations" with OSI. A "WikiLeaks advisory board member" used to work for "Soros-funded" Human Rights Watch and Julian Assange's legal council "does pro bono work" for OSI. Beck sure has a slam-dunk case there.
Fox News figures seized on Warren Buffett's comment that "people at the high end -- people like myself -- should be paying a lot more in taxes" to attack him and other millionaires who support ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. Fox has repeatedly defended the tax cuts for the wealthy and has accused Democrats of engaging in "class warfare" for wanting to return the top two income tax rates to 2000 levels.
Fox News contributor Sarah Palin, much like many of her Fox News colleagues recently, has decided to publicly advocate for racial profiling in response to the new airport screening procedures. In two November 19 posts on her Twitter page, Palin demanded that the Transportation Security Administration do just that, writing: "we profile individuals/suspects in other situations! profile away."
A few minutes later, she wrote:
Palin has long held the view that the government should use profiling in efforts to prevent terrorism.