Today's edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom featured a segment on the question everyone has been asking about Sarah Palin's memoir, Going Rogue: why, exactly, did the Associated Press assign eleven reporters -- eleven reporters -- to fact-checking it? Co-anchor Alisyn Camerota wanted to know whether it was a case of good old-fashioned liberal media bias, or just good old-fashioned Palin hatred from the media, saying that "AP assigned eleven [dramatic pause] reporters to fact-check the book ... but similar books by President Obama, Vice President Biden, even Bill and Hillary Clinton did not get that same kind of scrutiny."
The premise of the segment mimics a Facebook communiqué from Palin herself, who, when the AP's fact-check was published in advance of her book's release date, complained that "11 writers are engaged in this opposition research, er, "fact checking" research!" As we've pointed out, and as Stephen Colbert wryly observed last night, there's no arena in which Palin is more proficient than making herself a victim, and Fox News is more than willing to lend what tattered shreds of journalistic credibility they have to this pursuit.
There are several perfectly legitimate, non-biased reasons for the AP to assign eleven ... reporters to the book. The first, and most obvious, is division of labor -- it's a big book, and eleven ... reporters can fact-check it much more efficiently than one or two. Second, Palin, for better or worse, is a very high-profile and polarizing figure -- arguably of a higher profile than either the president or the vice president when their books were released -- and someone who, if Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are to be believed, will be the leader of the conservative movement going forward. She is deserving of scrutiny, no matter how much she and her defenders whine about it being unfair. Third, her limited track record thus far is pockmarked with blatant falsehoods, both big (Bridge to Nowhere) and small (the teleprompter at the Republican convention).
Strangely enough, the idea that Palin might need fact-checking was never considered by Camerota. The AP made just the first attempt at fact-checking the book, and additional analysis of Going Rogue by Media Matters and other outfits has turned up more falsehoods, distortions, and seemingly deliberate fractures of the truth. In short, the AP was completely justified in doing a thorough fact-check of Going Rogue.
That, in the end, is what is so interesting about the right-wing fascination with Palin, from Fox News down to the conservative blogs -- they are less interested in what Palin actually has to say than they are in what other people say about her. They do make some weak-kneed attempts at making her seem like a serious person, like Rush Limbaugh claiming her puffball of a memoir is a "substantive policy book," but for the most part she exists only as a vessel for outrage, someone through whom they can direct their anger at the "liberal media." And it's a role she's more than happy to play.
Here's a nice snapshot of the divide that exists within the Republican Party between serious people and the un-serious people.
The conservative noise machine, marching behind Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart's routinely unreliable site Big Government, has spent the last several months trying to turn ACORN into an all-purpose bogeyman that can be blamed for all the nation's ills. But it turns out that perhaps the only people they've convinced about ACORN are themselves. (Can you say echo chamber?)
Facing an absentee ballot recount defeat for the special election in NY-23, conservative Doug Hoffman is now adopting the right-wing media's anti-ACORN mantra. But local Republican officials aren't buying it.
From the Watertown (NY) Daily Times [emphasis added]:
With his prospect of winning the 23rd Congressional District race now almost zero, Conservative Party candidate Douglas L. Hoffman suggested Wednesday in a letter that "ACORN, the unions and the Democratic Party" "tampered" with results to deny him victory.
Mr. Hoffman provided no evidence to support his claims, but asked fellow conservatives to send donations his way to "ensure every vote is counted." Jerry O. Eaton, Jefferson County Republican elections commissioner, called Mr. Hoffman's assertion "absolutely false." "No one has touched those ballots or has access to those ballots except board of elections staff - and in a bipartisan manner," he said.
Mr. Hoffman provided no evidence to support his claims, but asked fellow conservatives to send donations his way to "ensure every vote is counted."
Jerry O. Eaton, Jefferson County Republican elections commissioner, called Mr. Hoffman's assertion "absolutely false."
"No one has touched those ballots or has access to those ballots except board of elections staff - and in a bipartisan manner," he said.
In his latest attack against Attorney General Eric Holder, Rush Limbaugh took issue with Holder's comments before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the "tragic shootings at Fort Hood." The offensive comments being "tragic shootings at Fort Hood":
LIMBAUGH: Now some of what Holder said today. He called the shooting at Fort Hood "tragic." No. It was a jihadist massacre. It was a terrorist attack. It was not a tragedy.
So Limbaugh makes clear that a distinction exists between terrorism and tragedy. The circles apparently are not concentric.
That established, let's take a walk down memory lane:
Just five months ago, Limbaugh addressed the Holocaust museum shooting and said:
LIMBAUGH: Very predictably, ladies and gentlemen, the media, the American left is trying to score some political points as a result of this tragedy at the Holocaust Museum in Washington yesterday, and as predictable, they are trying to blame this on me, other conservatives and right-wingers. It's the traditional approach taken by the American left.
The facts of the case, however, are such that if we want start assigning blame for this beyond this nutcase Jew hater, and notice that very few people actually want to do that. They want to claim this guy didn't have the ability to act on his own. He only could act if he was inspired by somebody. Well, who did he hate? He hated both Bushes. He hated neocons. He hated John McCain. He hated Republicans. He hated Jews as well. He believes in an inside job conspiracy of 9-11.
This guy is a leftist, if anything. This guy's beliefs, this guy's hate stems from influence that you find on the left, not on the right.
You almost get the feeling that Limbaugh's distinctions have more to do with how the words can be used to attack the Obama administration and "the American left."
At least the right-wing, Obama-hating site is consistent; it spreads lies on an almost daily basis. But I have to say, today's edition is particularly stunning in its brash disregard for the truth. It also provides a nice window into the world of conservative bloggers, where it seems people are actually encouraged to make stuff up.
Today's Obama-hating headline [emphasis added]:
Barack Obama: "I've Restored America's Standing in the World" (Video)
Gateway Pundit includes a video of Obama sitting down with CNN's Ed Henry, so readers can watch Obama proclaim, "I've restored America's standing in the world." And then readers are supposed to howl in disgust and mock the president's runaway ego. ("The Arrogant One," writes Gateway Pundit.)
The only problem is that at the 1:10 mark in the interview, here's what Obama actually says:
We've restored America's standing in the world.
To make this a thing, Gateway Pundit simply falsified the Obama quote. "We've" was replaced with "I've." Gateway Pundit doctored what Obama said in order to make it seem controversial. Like I said, another day, another Gateway Pundit falsehood. But here's the kicker, as of right now, nobody in the Gateway Pundit comment section has even bothered to watch the video and then point out that the item is built on a doctored quote. Readers there apparently like being fed a daily diet of manufactured misinformation.
Behold the right-wing blogosphere.
UPDATED: Incredibly, even though this Gateway Pundit falsehood has now been exposed, there's a very good chance it will not be fixed and that no correction or apology will be posted. (Gateway Pundit doesn't do the real world.) We'll keep you posted.
UPDATED: Even more bizarre is the fact that the Gateway Pundit item actually includes the written, and accurate, transcript of Obama's comments about how "we've" restored America's standing in the world. But for some reason Gateway Pundit decided to change Obama's quote for the eye-catching "I've" headline as well as the lede of the item.
Is this what happens when Obama Derangement Syndrome sets in?
UPDATED: Like the sun rising in the east, Gateway Pundit always delivers. It's been seven hours since we highlighted the manufactured Obama quote that Gateway Pundit is pushing today. And it's been many, many hours since CF readers pointed out the distortion in GP's comment section. Yet still no correction or update.
Gateway Pundit stands by its manufactured quote! Good to know.
"This was a production error in which the copy editor changed a script and didn't alert the control room to update the video,'' Michael Clemente, senior vice president of news at FOX, sad this evening. "There will be an on-air explanation during Happening Now on Thursday."
From Coulter's November 18 column, headlined "At the End of the Day, Diversity has Jumped the Shark":
It cannot be said often enough that the chief of staff of the United States Army, Gen. George Casey, responded to a massacre of 13 Americans in which the suspect is a Muslim by saying: "Our diversity ... is a strength."
As long as the general has brought it up: Never in recorded history has diversity been anything but a problem. Look at Ireland with its Protestant and Catholic populations, Canada with its French and English populations, Israel with its Jewish and Palestinian populations.
Or consider the warring factions in India, Sri Lanka, China, Iraq, Czechoslovakia (until it happily split up), the Balkans and Chechnya. Also look at the festering hotbeds of tribal warfare -- I mean the beautiful mosaics -- in Third World hellholes like Afghanistan, Rwanda and South Central, L.A.
"Diversity" is a difficulty to be overcome, not an advantage to be sought. True, America does a better job than most at accommodating a diverse population. We also do a better job at curing cancer and containing pollution. But no one goes around mindlessly exclaiming: "Cancer is a strength!" "Pollution is our greatest asset!"
Eighty advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Here are his November 18 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
Earlier, Think Progress caught Fox News showing what was clearly footage of a 2008 Sarah Palin campaign rally but claiming that it was video of "huge crowds" attending Palin's book tour.
But in case the McCain-Palin campaign signs and tee-shirts clearly visible in the footage Fox aired aren't enough to make Fox apologize, here's further proof.
Here's a screenshot of the footage of one of the rallies that Fox's Gregg Jarrett showed today and claimed was "just coming into us" as part of the book tour:
And here's a video of that same rally that TPM posted way back in 2008 -- when it actually happened.
UPDATE: For photographic proof that one of the rallies Fox News presented as being from Palin's book tour actually took place last year on the campaign trail, go here.
As the folks over at Think Progress note, Fox News's Gregg Jarrett today used old stock footage of a McCain-Palin rally from last year to illustrate how Sarah Palin is "continuing to draw huge crowds" during her book tour. He was apparently not tipped off by the McCain campaign "Country First" sign in one of the shots, nor did he wonder why Palin would be using a teleprompter to plug her book.
This is the second time in ten days Fox News has been caught deceptively using video to advance a misleading storyline - and that's just the tip of Fox News' video-doctoring iceberg. Maybe now Howard Kurtz will admit that there's a larger cultural problem with Fox News?