Fox has made it perfectly clear that it's not going to cover any of Obama's primetime press conferences. Ever. Fox TV (not Fox News) has walked away from that traditional obligation. And if you believe the Village chatter, lots of self-centered execs s at the other nets would love to follow Murdoch's lead.
Press conferences are so boring, the suits complain, as they huddle over their primetime entertainment lineups which have lost tens of millions of viewers in recent years.
But now, with Obama set to address the full session of Congress on Sept. 9, to discuss the hugely controversial topic of health care, how will Murdoch defend his (possible) choice to stiff the White House again? How will Murdoch's 'network' justify turning its back on a plainly newsworthy event?
Question for the historians: Has a U.S. television network ever refused to carry a presidential address to Congress?
After yesterday's exercise in communist fearmongering about President Obama's upcoming televised speech to students, NewsBusters wants to get some answers. "What Does Obama Want with Our Children?" asks Mithridate Ombud, who is very concerned about Obama's plan "to circumvent parental authority and speak directly to our children in one week." Poor Mithridate just can't see through the fog, but nonetheless knows one thing for certain about Obama's speech: "[L]ike all things Obama does, it's spur of the moment and covert."
Let's consider that statement for a moment -- Obama's speech to students is "spur of the moment and covert." It's so "spur of the moment" that the Secretary of Education sent a letter to teachers on August 26 -- two weeks before the actual speech -- explaining what the speech will entail and the various ways in which their students could watch it. And it's so "covert" that, in addition to a letter from the Secretary of Education, the Department of Education put out a media advisory on the speech -- a media advisory that Ombud linked to just a few sentences earlier. I mean, really, it's a speech by the most recognizable man on the planet that will be televised nationwide on C-SPAN and streamed on the White House website -- Tom Clancy this isn't.
OK, so maybe it's neither "spur of the moment" nor "covert," but that's no reason why you still shouldn't be scared to death for your children's fragile minds. After all, writes Ombud, a bunch of Hollywood actors put together a video pledging to support the president, and that, perhaps, will give us a "flavor" of what "the NEA union that controls our children" will present to the kids. If you don't understand the connection, don't worry, because I don't either.
And after attacking the president for trying "to circumvent parental authority," Ombud asserts some "parental authority," announcing that "the entire cadre of Ombud children will be having a parent sanctioned skip day September 8th." Now, remember, Ombud admits having no idea what the president is going to talk about (even though the administration has been very clear the topics will not stray far from "stay in school" and "school is good"), but nonetheless considers the speech enough of a threat that it would be irresponsible not to keep the kids out of school.
The sum total of all this is that Ombud can't find a coherent argument to make against the speech other than the fact that it's Obama who's delivering it. Content is irrelevant and facts are irrelevant. Obama's doing it, so it must be bad. It's like an old Groucho Marx bit for modern times -- Whatever it is, I'm against it!
Here are Glenn Beck's September 2 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
A lot has been said already about Pat Buchanan's bizarre effort to shift the blame for World War II and the Holocaust away from Hitler. But one of the most offensive parts of Buchanan's screed is his attempt to minimize Hitler's crimes against Jews before 1942. Buchanan writes:
If Hitler wanted the world, why did he not build strategic bombers, instead of two-engine Dorniers and Heinkels that could not even reach Britain from Germany?
Why did he let the British army go at Dunkirk?
Why did he offer the British peace, twice, after Poland fell, and again after France fell?
Why, when Paris fell, did Hitler not demand the French fleet, as the Allies demanded and got the Kaiser's fleet? Why did he not demand bases in French-controlled Syria to attack Suez? Why did he beg Benito Mussolini not to attack Greece?
Because Hitler wanted to end the war in 1940, almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps.
This isn't the first time Buchanan has made this argument; he previously wrote:
That Hitler was a rabid anti-Semite is undeniable. "Mein Kampf" is saturated in anti-Semitism. The Nuremberg Laws confirm it. But for the six years before Britain declared war, there was no Holocaust, and for two years after the war began, there was no Holocaust.
Not until midwinter 1942 was the Wannsee Conference held, where the Final Solution was on the table.
That conference was not convened until Hitler had been halted in Russia, was at war with America and sensed doom was inevitable. Then the trains began to roll.
The Holocaust was not a cause of the war, but a consequence of the war. No war, no Holocaust.
Hitler began systematically murdering Poland's and the Soviet Union's Jewish populations in June 1941, but as Yad Vashem, Israel's official "Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority," notes, "From the beginning of the war in 1939, until the summer of 1941, tens of thousands of Jews were murdered due to the effects of the German occupation policy." And as noted by Yad Vashem, Nazi proposals for genocide against Jews existed even before the war began:
Nazi leadership mentioned the possibility of exterminating European Jewry, even before the outbreak of the war. The most famous of these articulations was made by Hitler on January 30th 1939 in a speech at the Reichstag. Following the occupation of Poland in 1939, various proposals for segregating the Jews were raised including: concentrating European Jewry in a special "reservation" near Nisko, in the Lublin district, or, alternatively, deporting them en masse to the island of Madagascar in East Africa. The state of war made such large scale plans impossible to implement and therefore Jews were confined to ghettos, but these were always thought of as a temporary measure. The decision to kill all the Jews of Europe was formulated in late 1941 and a setting was created for the start of the mass murder, which eventually became more systematic. This included the deportation of the Jews from the German Reich to the East (beginning in October 1941), the initial construction of the Belzec Death Camp (November 1941), the beginning of the murder of Jews in Chelmno (December 1941), and coordinating the apparatus of mass murder at the Wannsee Conference (January 1942).
Buchanan, moreover, is downplaying nearly a decade of persecution and violence that preceded the death camps:
From its formation the Nazi regime persecuted the Jews. From April 1933, nationwide boycotts were carried out against the Jews and Antisemitic legislation began. The Nazis strove systematically to remove the Jews from all centers of influence in German society and to separate them from the "Aryan Race." Along with their governmental and legal activities, the Nazis attempted to segregate the Jews from the rest of German society. The Nazis realized that they were able to generate extensive support for these steps, or at least tacit acceptance of them, among the German people. The Nuremberg Laws, enacted in 1935, stripped the German Jews of their citizenship and brought about sharper racial separation between Jews and "Aryans."
The Antisemitic policy implemented by the Nazi regime was intensified in the late 1930s, when the Jews began to be systematically dispossessed of their property and were subjected to increased pressure to emigrate. In March 1938 Germany annexed Austria, where this policy was applied through brutal means. The anti-Jewish policy escalated further in a series of violent acts beginning in the summer of 1938, culminating in the Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938 and the events that followed. At this point, most of the Jewish organizations and the internal infrastructure of the communities in Germany were paralyzed.
Here's more on 1938, the Anschluss, and Kristallnacht:
The year 1938 saw a horrific radicalization of the anti-Jewish policy of the Nazi regime. The change began with the events surrounding the annexation of Austria to Germany (the Anschluss), which was accompanied by unprecedented attacks on the Jews of Vienna. This was followed by an exacerbation of the forcible confiscation of Jewish property ("Aryanization"). In October 1938, about 17,000 Jews of Polish origin were deported from Germany. This chain of events culminated in an outburst of violence against Jews throughout the Reich in November 1938. This became know as the Kristallnacht Pogrom, in the course of which 99 Jews were murdered. Following Kristallnacht, approximately 30,000 Jews were arrested and held in concentration camps - the first time that such arrests were made en masse. The incidents and the regulations that ensued were a heavy blow to Jewish life in Germany.
From a September 2 press release from ColorOfChange.org:
Eleven new companies whose ads were recently seen during Beck's program -- Binder & Binder, Capital One, The Dannon Company, Discover, HSBC, ICAN Benefit Group Insurance, Infiniti, Jelmar (manufacturer of CLR All-Purpose Cleaner), Jordan McKenna Debt Counseling Network, Mercedes-Benz and Simplex Healthcare (creator of the Diabetes Care Club) -- have pledged to ColorOfChange.org to take steps to ensure that their ads don't run on Beck's show. Fifty-seven companies have now committed not to support Beck's show since ColorOfChange.org launched its campaign four weeks ago after the Fox News Channel host called President Obama a "racist" who "has a deep-seated hatred for white people" during an appearance on Fox & Friends.
"We applaud those companies that have recently pulled their support from Beck," said James Rucker, executive director of ColorOfChange.org. "There are at least 57 companies who will not tolerate Beck's race-baiting comments and we will continue to reach out to those who are still supporting him."
From MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan's September 1 Creators Syndicate column, headlined, "Did Hitler Want War?":
On Sept. 1, 1939, 70 years ago, the German Army crossed the Polish frontier. On Sept. 3, Britain declared war.
Six years later, 50 million Christians and Jews had perished. Britain was broken and bankrupt, Germany a smoldering ruin. Europe had served as the site of the most murderous combat known to man, and civilians had suffered worse horrors than the soldiers.
By May 1945, Red Army hordes occupied all the great capitals of Central Europe: Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Berlin. A hundred million Christians were under the heel of the most barbarous tyranny in history: the Bolshevik regime of the greatest terrorist of them all, Joseph Stalin.
What cause could justify such sacrifices?
The German-Polish war had come out of a quarrel over a town the size of Ocean City, Md., in summer. Danzig, 95 percent German, had been severed from Germany at Versailles in violation of Woodrow Wilson's principle of self-determination. Even British leaders thought Danzig should be returned.
Why did Warsaw not negotiate with Berlin, which was hinting at an offer of compensatory territory in Slovakia? Because the Poles had a war guarantee from Britain that, should Germany attack, Britain and her empire would come to Poland's rescue.
But why would Britain hand an unsolicited war guarantee to a junta of Polish colonels, giving them the power to drag Britain into a second war with the most powerful nation in Europe?
If you get caught defending Adolph Hitler one time, you could, I suppose, claim it was an accident; a momentary lapse of reason.
If you get caught defending Hitler two times ... Well, I guess you could say it was just be an unfortunate coincidence.
But if you defend Hitler as often as Pat Buchanan has, that isn't an accident, and it isn't a coincidence: it's a pattern. And it's pretty hard to avoid the conclusion that you just don't think Hitler was all that bad.
Over at Daily Kos, Markos catches Buchanan marking the 70th anniversary of Britain declaring war on Nazi Germany by arguing that Hitler has gotten a bum rap -- he didn't really want war.
As crazy as it seems, this actually isn't a new line of argument for Buchanan. He has long held that World War II was not "worth it," that Hitler needn't have been deposed, and that the Holocaust was Churchill's fault, not Hitler's. I catalogued those and other monstrous Buchanan claims in a column back in June:
Buchanan has called Adolf Hitler an "individual of great courage." He also questioned whether World War II was "worth it" and wondered, "[W]hy destroy Hitler?" That wasn't 40 years ago; that was just four years ago. Just last year, he wrote that the Holocaust happened not because of Hitler, but because of Churchill.
That actually may demonstrate a hint of progress for Buchanan: At least he acknowledged the Holocaust did happen. In the past, he has peddled bizarre Holocaust denial claims, and as recently as two months ago, compared suspected Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk to Jesus Christ.
Defending an accused Nazi war criminal is one thing. Relying on the discredited arguments of Holocaust deniers in order to do so is quite another. And that's exactly what Buchanan has done.
In a 1990 column defending Demjanjuk, Buchanan wrote: "Reportedly, half of the 20,000 survivor testimonies in Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem are considered 'unreliable' " because of "Holocaust Survivor Syndrome," which involves "group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics." Buchanan didn't say who "reported" this claim, which would fit in nicely in the most extreme Holocaust denial literature. Nor did he identify a source for his claim that Jews could not have been killed at Treblinka because "[d]iesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody," a claim he purported to prove by noting that, in 1988, "97 kids, trapped 400 feet underground in a Washington, DC tunnel while two locomotives spewed diesel exhaust into the car, emerged unharmed after 45 minutes." Buchanan later refused to tell journalist Jacob Weisberg where he got that anecdote, saying only, "Somebody sent it to me." Evidence strongly suggests the claim came from a Holocaust denial newsletter. Regardless of where Buchanan got his theories about diesel engines, the mass graves at Treblinka are rather more persuasive.
Buchanan's bizarre comments about Nazis and the Holocaust kicked into high gear during his time as a columnist, but his questionable approach to the subject began earlier. As an aide to President Reagan, Buchanan successfully urged his boss to visit Germany's Bitburg cemetery, where Nazi troops are buried. Buchanan was reportedly responsible for Reagan's statement that the SS troops buried there were "victims just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps."
And that's just the stuff about Nazis. There's much more, including Buchanan's defense of segregation.
Earlier today a member of our research staff was on his way to lunch when he spotted a man filming the Media Matters office building from across the street.
When the staffer returned from lunch he spoke to one of our building's great security guards and was told that the cameraman had initially been on our side of the street filming but they'd asked him to move. The cameraman identified himself as affiliated with "Fox TV" and said that his assignment was to take several exterior shots of the building from different angles.
So, what does this all mean?
Will Media Matters be subjected to one of Bill O'Reilly's notorious ambush interviews?
Will Glenn Beck wrap us up into one of his loony conspiracy theories?
Will Sean Hannity lay into us for cavorting with socialists, communists, cartoonists and pianists?
Who knows, I guess we'll just have to stay tuned.
Fox News: Fair, Balanced and Bizarre.