Rasmussen, Schoen lie early in new tea party book

Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

It doesn't take long to spot a lie in the new tea party book by Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen -- Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System.

The lie comes in the form of an attack on a column I wrote in April 2009 which was based on a report released by Media Matters the same week.

On page four in the book's introduction, the authors write (highlighting added):

For something to be "patently false" it must actually be false and not demonstrably true. Unfortunately for Rasmussen and Schoen, the later happens to be the case.

Let's look at this piece-by-piece, shall we?

Claim: "Despite repeatedly claiming its coverage is 'fair and balanced'"

Come on now, it's been the network's frigging slogan for years.

Claim: "despite its attacks on anyone who dares claim or imply the cable outlet tilts to the right"

I suppose attacks on Howard Dean, Jon Klein, the White House, Dan Pfeiffer, Howell Raines, Jon Stewart, Rick Sanchez, Christiane Amanpour, and many others don't count. Oh wait, they do.

Claim: "despite encouraging viewers to "say 'no' to biased media"

Fox News aired promotions for its Fox Nation website telling viewers, "It's time to say 'no' to biased media and 'yes' to fair play and free speech."

Claim: "Fox News has frequently aired segments imploring its audience to get involved with tea-party protests across the country"

From April 6 to April 13, Fox News featured at least 20 segments on the protests, and from April 6 to April 15, Fox News aired at least 107 commercial promotions for their coverage of the protests. It was so aggressive that Washington Post media critic and host of CNN's Reliable Sources Howard Kurtz said, "I don't think I've ever seen a news network throw its weight behind a protest like we are seeing in the past few weeks with Fox and these tea parties." Following the protests, dozens of media articles reported that Fox News helped influence or turn out participants to local tea parties.

Claim: "protests the 'news' network has described as mainly a response to President Obama's economic policies."

Fox News personalities like Bill O'Reilly, Greta Van Susteren and Bret Baier have all characterized the protests primarily as a response to the Obama administration's fiscal policies.

Claim: "Organizers of these tea-party protests have no bigger cheerleader (or crowd-builder, for that matter) than Fox News, which has provided attendance and organizing information for the events on air and online dozens of times."

I defy anyone to give me an example of a bigger megaphone on the right than Fox News. For what it is worth, the tea party protests were promoted or covered on numerous Fox News shows, including Fox & Friends, America's Newsroom, Your World, Glenn Beck, Special Report, The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, and On the Record. More on that here.

Claim: "Fox has offered viewers and readers such vital organizing information as protest dates and locations and addresses of websites where people can learn more."

See response above.

Claim: "It has even posted information and publicity material for the events on its own website."

Bill Hemmer even directed viewers to go to America's Newsroom's website for more information about the protests. The website displayed a link to "Upcoming 'Tea Party' protests," and stated that "protests over big government spending and bailouts are popping up all over the country.

Claim: "Tea-party planners are now using the planned attendance of Fox News hosts to promote their protests and listing Fox News contributors as "Tea Party Sponsor[s]" on their website."

TaxDayTeaParty.com listed Fox News contributors Michelle Malkin and Tammy Bruce as "Tea Party Sponsors." The sponsors section of the website also listed American Solutions for Winning the Future, whose general chairman is Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich. Additionally, the Sacramento Tea Party website used Fox News host Neil Cavuto's image at the top of its home page to promote his appearance at its event and the Atlanta Tea Party website promoted Fox News host Sean Hannity's appearance at its protest as "huge and exciting news."

Again, far from "patently false," everything I wrote was demonstrably true.

Fortunately enough for those that buy the book, Rasmussen and Schoen directly contradict their attack on Media Matters:

See? On page four, the authors attack Media Matters for documenting how the tea party was, to use their words, "facilitated largely" by Fox News. On the very next page the authors themselves make the same claim.

How's that for consistency?

Of course, it should be noted that Rasmussen and Schoen frequently appear on Fox News as guests -- Schoen is even employed by the network. Also, their book is published by Harper Collins, which is owned by the right-wing network's parent company, News Corp.

Why on earth would they want to attack Media Matters?

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