In one of the first posts on Andrew Breitbart's new website BigJournalism.com, radio host Ron Futrell purported to list "The Top Twelve Faux Media Scares of the Past Decade." A couple of the entries caught our eye. In one, Futrell spreads the tired myth that the world is cooling -- something scientists and statisticians could tell him is wrong. In another entry, Futrell goes after "asbestos insulation" as a "faux media scare." That one caused us to do a double take. How could concern over asbestos insulation be a "faux media scare"? Is BigJournalism actually advocating for people to forget the media hype and install asbestos in their homes and offices? Well, not quite. Futrell does acknowledge that you may not want to sprinkle asbestos "on your cereal in the morning," but he does present the link between asbestos and cancer as a matter for debate, labeling asbestos a "supposed carcinogen."
Outside of BigJournalism's world, the link between asbestos and cancer is well-known. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the EPA have determined that asbestos is a human carcinogen." In case you don't trust the liberal federal government and the WHO (who knows what kind of black helicopter plots those folks are involved in), the Utah Department of Environmental Quality also lists asbestos as a carcinogen. Even Fox News isn't on BigJournalism's side: Fox News senior medical editor Dr. Michael W. Smith has listed asbestos as a carcinogen.
Is it too early to say that relying on BigJournalism for your information may be hazardous to your health?
New year, same Fox News ethics.
On December 21, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reported that Fox executives told host Mike Huckabee to stop plugging his website "on the air after learning that it linked to his political action committee, which the network deemed a conflict of interest":
His HuckPAC has been involved in local races, raising $305,000 in this campaign cycle. His Web site urges followers to "Vote No Against Senate Health Care Bill" and invites fans to join him and his wife, Janet (for just $3,999!), on a tour of Israel next month. Fox executives told Huckabee to stop plugging the Web site on the air after learning that it linked to his political action committee, which the network deemed a conflict of interest.
As we've noted, Huckabee has used his Fox News program to promote the website "balancecutsave.com," which redirects visitors to a web page soliciting donations for Huckabee's political action committee.
Huckabee's personal website, MikeHuckabee.com, actively promotes and links to his political action committee. The large and small HuckPAC graphics and "Vote No ..." graphic direct readers to HuckPAC.com.
But despite his bosses' reported order to stop promoting a website that "link[s] to his political action committee," Huckabee promoted MikeHuckabee.com on his program last Saturday:
Huckabee's FoxNews.com website also promotes MikeHuckabee.com:
One of the reasons right-wing media criticism is often so pointless is that it's so obviously an exercise is partisan propaganda and has so little to do with actual journalism or legitimate criticism. An evergreen tell-tale sign of that is the habitual year-end moaning about beloved right-wing news stories that the press "ignored." The problem is that in so many cases, right-wingers point to stories that were, in truth, covered incessantly. GOP critics just like to pretend the stories were ignored, which then allows them to mouth more empty allegations about the so-called liberal media.
We already mocked Big Government for claiming last year's ACORN story was "ignored" by the press. (In truth, I found nearly 3,000 "ACORN" news accounts on Nexis.) More recently joining in on the pity party was FoxNews.com, which chronicled the top nine news stories that were "ignored" by the mainstream media. And yes, the massively over-covered ACORN story was among the top finishers.
Also making the list was the Tea Party movement and the rallies that were staged. Yep, according to FoxNews.com, the mainstream media "ignored" the Tea Party story last year. Funny, because if you search Nexis for 2009 you'll find nearly 2,500 Tea Party-related news articles and mentions.
So just between ACORN and the Tea Parties, the mainstream media "ignored" the stories to the tune of 5,500 reports last year.
Good to know.
UPDATED: Also humorous was the the FoxNews.com claim that the liberal mainstream media "ignored" a December study out of George Mason Univ. that indicated more federal stimulus money was being spent in Democratic Congressional districts vs. GOP ones. And yes, in truth the story received just minor pick up. The funny part though, was that among the news outlets that "ignored" the study was the right-wing Washington Times, which apparently is in on the massive media conspiracy to underplay GOP news.
I'm sure glad FoxNews.com outed the Washington Times for its failed coverage.
This morning Media Matters president Eric Burns appeared on The Joe Scarborough Show to discuss Glenn Beck's selection as Media Matters' 2009 Misinformer of the Year award and his meltdown over the news he'd "won".
Today the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Gilbert Ross, who asserts that "[a]s a threat to our nation's security, allowing imported drugs into our pharmacies ranks just below terrorism" because drug reimportation "is a sure path to destroying our drug industry." The Journal identified "Dr. Ross" as "medical director of the American Council on Science and Health," which certainly sounds like a credible authority on reform of our health care system.
But what the Journal didn't share with readers is that Ross previously served time in a federal prison after defrauding New York's Medicaid program by turning society's most vulnerable into drug dealers. In a 2005 Mother Jones expose, Bill Hogan reported that Dr. Ross worked with clinics that "raked in indigent patients-most of them homeless, alcoholic, or drug-addicted men-by offering them prescriptions for expensive drugs that they could resell on the street for cash," in return for bodies on which to perform "medically unnecessary examinations, procedures, and tests." You remember the doctors' oath: First, do no harm ... unless you've got an opportunity to steal millions from taxpayers, then do that first.
From Hogan's Mother Jones piece:
But Ross may not be ACSH's most prudent choice to question the credibility of other doctors, scientists, and researchers. Although the biography posted on the organization's website doesn't mention it, Ross actually had to abandon medicine on July 24, 1995, when his license to practice as a physician in New York was revoked by the unanimous vote of a state administrative review board for professional misconduct.
Instead of tending to patients, Ross spent all of 1996 at a federal prison camp in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania, having being sentenced to 46 months in prison for his participation in a scheme that ultimately defrauded New York's Medicaid program of approximately $8 million. During a three-and-a-half-week jury trial, federal prosecutors laid bare Ross' participation in an enterprise, headed by one Mohammed Sohail Khan, to operate four sham medical clinics in New York City. For his scam to work, Khan needed doctors who could qualify as Medicaid providers, and Ross responded to an ad in the New York Times promising "Very, very good $$."
The scheme was brazenly larcenous: The clinics, which were later described as "very dirty and unsanitary," raked in indigent patients-most of them homeless, alcoholic, or drug-addicted men-by offering them prescriptions for expensive drugs that they could resell on the street for cash. Word spread fast, and in streamed patients who, in exchange for the valuable scrip, would provide their Medicaid recipient numbers, give blood samples, and undergo medically unnecessary examinations, procedures, and tests. All of this brought Ross and the other doctors in the scheme money from the state's Medicaid system, a percentage of which was kicked back to Khan.
Ross testified at his trial that he had no knowledge of the ongoing fraud at the clinic where he worked. This defense only added to his troubles when, following his conviction, the judge ruled that Ross had obstructed justice by committing perjury. In addition to his prison sentence, Ross was ordered to forfeit $40,000 and, for his role in the fraud, to pay restitution of $612,855-an amount that was later reduced to $85,137 on the grounds that he didn't have the assets to pay more. In 1997 a judge sustained a decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to bar Ross for 10 years from participating in either the Medicare or Medicaid programs, holding that he was "a highly untrustworthy individual" who had, at Khan's clinics, engaged in "medically indefensible" practices.
If his appallingly unethical past isn't enough to establish that Ross is uniquely unqualified to comment on drug reimportation, it's also the case that his organization, the American Council for Science and Health, has been funded by the drug industry. Although ACSH no longer provides the names of its funders, in 1985 ACSH revealed that drug companies contributed to its budget. Whether ACSH continues to receive funds from the drug industry is one piece of information that would benefit Journal readers presented with an op-ed claiming a policy that hurts drug companies also threatens the country almost as much as terrorists do. But we probably shouldn't get ahead of ourselves with regard to whom the Journal's opinion page is supposed to benefit.
I've often joked about how so many members of the GOP Noise Machine prefer to inhabit a strange type of parallel universe where they can all agree on their own set of convenient facts. Indeed, their habitat often resembles Bizarro World, where up is down, black is white, etc.
Well, if you needed any further confirmation of this mystical (mental) place exists, behold Glenn Beck on his radio show today when he longed for the good old days, like when George Bush was sitting in the Oval Office, and when the D.C. press did "not allow" the president "to get away with blatant lies."
That's right, during the previous decade, the Beltway journalists didn't famously morph into obedient lapdogs. If you think that was the case, you're simply misremembering the past again. This is GOP World, and what Beck says goes. Period. If Beck says we've always been at war with Eastasia, than it's a fact. And if he claims that dogged and determined members of the Beltway press corps courageously checked Bush's every move, than just accept it as the truth.
Linking to a Reuters article about Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's announcement of new drilling policies, Fox let us know just how it feels about environmental protection via a new headline. What the original article described as a "telephone briefing with reporters" became a "childish rant" in the world of "fair and balanced" Fox.
From the Fox Nation on January 7:
The Reuters article, headlined, "U.S. overhauls oil, natural gas drilling policy," contains neither ranting nor childishness on the part of the Interior secretary, but it does contain statements from Salazar explaining how the new policies help protect federal lands from oil and gas industry development to which they were subject during the last administration.
From the January 6 Reuters article:
"The difference is in the prior administration the oil and gas industry essentially were the kings of the world," Salazar said in telephone briefing with reporters. "Whatever they wanted to happen essentially happened and the department essentially was the handmaiden of the oil and gas industry."
So that's Fox's idea of a childish rant. Certainly not this.
From Fox Nation on January 7:
From the January 7 American Thinker post to which Fox Nation linked:
This past week, I was having lunch at a restaurant in midtown Manhattan when my colleague noticed Al and Tipper Gore dining across the room with another couple. It was a frigid day, with record-breaking temperatures keeping most people indoors, and we were the last two tables in the restaurant.
As the Gore party started walking out of the room, my colleague called out, "Hey, Al, how's all that global warming working out for you?" Gore turned around and stared at us with a completely dumbfounded look on his face. He was speechless. With a smile, my colleague repeated the question, again to a hapless look of dismay.
Finally, Gore mumbled under his breath, "Wow, you sound awfully angry." I responded with a thank you, explaining to him that we were actually extremely amused. The encounter concluded with Gore's friend mouthing a very animated "f
you" at us, and they skulked away. My only regret is that no one at the table asked Gore, "What's the matter? The polar bear's got your tongue?"
What struck me the most about this meeting was Gore's complete inability to utter a sentence addressing his life's work. The former Vice President, Nobel Prize laureate, and Academy Award-winning producer standing before us was a moron, unable to articulate a simple comeback to address all that he has stood for since leaving office. He could have simply ignored us and kept walking, as he does with reporters, but by stopping and standing there dumbstruck, he looked like a fool.
Now that Sen. Chris Dodd has announced his retirement, and CT.'s Democratic AG, Richard Blumenthal, has entered the race with a 78 percent job approval rating. And now that Blumenthal may face off against CT. Republican Bob Simmons, who did The Note turn to this morning for its sole piece of CT. election analysis?
Yep [emphasis added]:
Tempering some Democratic optimism, in Connecticut: "Since [Richard] Blumenthal was elected in 1990, he has NEVER faced a competitive race. That's probably not going to bode well for him as he begins his campaign in a highly charged political environment," writes Neil Newhouse, a pollster working for former Rep. Rob Simmons', R-Conn., campaign.