It's like they're not even trying.
The excited attack that's going around is that when I appeared on Stephanie Miller's radio show yesterday I made fun of the fact that Fox News reporter Mike Tobin, who is covering the union showdown in Madison, Wisconsin, says he was punched by a local activist.
Andrew Breitbart's site lied and announced that I thought it was "funny to watch" Tobin get hit.
Actually, what I said on Miller's show was that "no one should be hitting any reporters or anything like that." And I tweeted the exact same thing last night. So there's no confusion about that point, only attempts by conservatives to concoct confusion. i.e. The same-old, same-old.
Here's what I did laugh about during the Miller show. It was the fact that Tobin and others at Fox News have expressed total shock that union activists in Wisconsin hold Fox News in contempt [emphasis added]:
BOEHLERT: Now this is, I was just looking at some clips of this and then later over at some point over the weekend he and this reporter and Geraldo had an on-air pity party and the reporter talked about how these protesters, hate free speech and hate diversity of viewpoint and you can see the hatred in their eyes.
You just have to laugh. I mean this coming from someone who works for a station that essentially concocts hate on an hourly basis. They're stunned when they go out into the real world when they venture beyond they're right wing bubble you know that people don't like them and they're going to express that with free speech. So yeah, it's been kind of funny to watch.
I still think it's funny that Tobin is amazed that he'd run into chanting demonstrators who push back against Fox News and its hourly misinformation.
I hope I'm not the one to break it to Tobin, but Fox News for the last several weeks has functioned, by and large, as an anti-union propaganda outlet. Period. It has been shoving as much one-sided, union-hating rhetoric on the air as possible. And yes, even during its "news" programming, Fox News has been deceiving viewers by inviting GOP officials on the air under the guise of presenting them as merely concerned Wisconsin citizens. And they're invited on the air to do what? To bash the unions.
Faced with covering union protests (prompted by the the Wisconsin governor's truly radical legislative agenda), Fox News has done everything in its power to portray union members as the cause of civil unrest. Fox News has been guilty of some of the most rancid kind of class warfare and reckless scapegoating imaginable. And yet its reporter in Wisconsin wonders why union supporters there give him an earful and mock the channel during live shots?
Why shouldn't members of the public exercise their First Amendment right and articulate their disdain for the kind of chronic misinformation that Fox News churns out? It seems to me that that kind of habitual malfeasance brings with it a downside: Members of the public exercising their First Amendment right and articulating their disdain for Fox News.
I mean, are Fox Newsers really suggesting that people aren't allowed to express their opinion on live television? That doesn't sound very American to me. (But again I'll reiterate: Any attempts to get hands-on with Fox News reporters should remain completely out of bounds.)
The truth is, if Tobin and his colleague want to throw him a pity party on-air and have Fox News promote him as some sort of right-wing martyr, that's their right. But they ought to stop pretending he works for an actual news organization, or that journalism is being targeted in Madison.
It's not. But Fox News is. There's a big difference.