Earlier today, one of Fox News' websites, FoxNews.com, reported that Fox News contributor Sarah Palin is "end[ing] her 'One Nation' bus tour" and returning home where "it's prime salmon fishing season" this time of year. Palin subsequently fired off a tweet sarcastically asking "I did?" and saying that the media "never cease to amaze."
And then another Fox News website, the Fox Nation, jumped in to defend Palin against the report by its sister website, reporting that Palin "quiets bus tour rumors." Palin later jumped back into the fray with a Facebook post decrying reports from unnamed media outlets that her bus tour had been canceled. Palin ended her Facebook note by declaring that these unnamed media outlets have a "long track record of getting things wrong or just making things up."
Below the fold are the conflicting headlines (all generated by one news source: Fox News):
With the fake "Climategate" scandal thoroughly and incontrovertibly debunked, the right-wing media are pushing a new round of bogus climate science accusations, and the familiar Fox Cycle pattern is again revving up. Right-wing activists and Fox News are working to push climate misinformation into the mainstream press, and the mainstream press have a responsibility not to repeat the failures of the "Climategate" fiasco.
On June 17, FoxNews.com published an article asking whether climate scientists are "doctoring the data" showing rising sea levels. The reporter, Maxim Lott, based his story on a May 11 Forbes.com blog post by the Heartland Institute's James Taylor, who accused the University of Colorado's Sea Level Research Group of "doctor[ing] sea level data." Taylor came to this conclusion after Professor Steve Nerem of the research group posted a blog entry a few days earlier explaining that they added a correction to their sea level data to account for expanding ocean basins. The correction, as Media Matters documented, is a standard scientific procedure about which there is "nothing controversial," to borrow the words of one leading climate scientist. Taylor, however, seemed to think that he caught a climate scientist announcing via the internet how he was tampering with his data.
As the story made the subtle transformation from overt right-wing activism to Fox News "journalism," important details were left by the wayside. Fox News' Lott contacted Nerem, who told Lott that "this is a scientifically well-understood correction" that is used by other groups, but that key bit of information never made it into the final story. The article quoted a climate scientist appearing to bolster Taylor's claim of "doctoring," but that same scientist told Media Matters that he "would object to making that accusation."
Following the lead of the Heartland Institute, Fox News trumpeted the utterly baseless claim that scientists at the University of Colorado are "doctoring" sea level data to "exaggerate the effects of global warming." In reality, the scientists used a standard and transparent procedure performed by other research groups around the world, and even the climate skeptic cited by Fox News objects to the implication that the group engaged in scientific wrongdoing.
Continuing its pattern of hyping ridiculous conspiracy theories to attack the Obama administration, Fox News baselessly suggested that the ATF's Operation Fast and Furious was deliberately designed to go badly in order to justify stricter U.S. gun laws. In fact, even a report prepared for House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) refutes this theory.
On June 1, 2011, Fox News released its official iPad application. The application is free for download and is currently financially supported by a sole sponsor, ExxonMobil.
Mashable's Ben Parr, who spoke with Jeremy Steinberg, Fox News VP of digital media ad sales and business development, provides some additional information:
Users will also notice something else about the app: the prominent placement of ExxonMobil advertising throughout the app. Exxon is the exclusive launch partner for Fox News's iPad app. "We decided we wanted to work with one sponsor," Steinberg said, explaining that there are always question marks surrounding a launch, so Fox News wanted a partner comfortable with that. He said Exxon, which is in the midst of a new branding campaign, thought the app was a perfect platform for broadcasting its message.
Given Fox News' long history of deliberately propagating climate science misinformation, it's fitting that Exxon reportedly believes Fox's new app provides a perfect platform for disseminating its message.
After a blizzard struck New York City last year, right-wing media were quick to smear unions, using a bogus allegation that a planned union slowdown delayed cleanup efforts. Even then, New York City officials took responsibility for the slow response. Now, a report by the New York City Department Of Investigation says that the source of the slowdown claim "contributed no actual evidence about a possible slowdown."
Fox News, WorldNetDaily and the Washington Examiner have written stories based on a report produced by the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch alleging that the FCC "colluded with the leftist Free Press organization to publicly push a new plan to regulate the Internet under the FCC's so-called 'net neutrality' program."
The allegation of collusion here is about as valid as WorldNetDaily's ongoing quest to find the "real" Obama birth certificate. The evidence Judicial Watch uses to justify their allegation comes from emails between FCC Commissioner Michael Copps and media reform organization Free Press. The e-mails detail communications between Copps and Free Press regarding the placement of an op-ed in favor of net neutrality regulations (which would guarantee that internet service providers can't favor their own content over others) , as well as arrangements for a meeting between Copps and a representative of Free Press.
None of this is unusual. Government officials regularly meet and speak before outside groups, like the conservative Heritage Foundation and the progressive Center For American Progress. For example, Republican FCC commissioner Robert M. McDowell was invited to speak at Americans For Prosperity's (AFP) Right Online conference in 2010. In his speech, McDowell expressed his opposition to net neutrality legislation. Americans For Prosperity has devoted significant resources to opposing net neutrality, including creating an advocacy website at NoInternetTakeOver.com. By Judicial Watch's definition, this is evidence of McDowell "colluding" with AFP.
FoxNews.com today published an op-ed by self-described "Fox News Democrat" Doug Schoen defending Fox News from charges that it's "devoted primarily, if not entirely, to promoting Republican candidates and Republican talking points." Schoen's op-ed is riddled with false defenses of his employer.
For starters, Schoen claims that "I can honestly say that there's never been an effort, organized or otherwise, to get me or to my knowledge anyone else to advance a particular point of view." But Fox News vice president and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon has been recently caught doing exactly that. Internal emails show that Sammon ordered his news staff to cast doubt on established climate science; directed his staff not to use the phrase "public option"; and a source with knowledge of the situation at Fox's Washington bureau told Media Matters that Sammon exerts "pressure" on his staff to "slant news to the right."
Schoen also writes that "I understand that the point of view presented is not that of the left, but its also not that of the Republican National Committee." Yet Fox News regularly echoes Republican talking points and has been caught literally plagiarizing material from the GOP.
Schoen adds that Fox News has "sought the highest quality Democrats," pointing to himself and Pat Caddell, among others, as two examples. But the presence of those two actually illustrates part of the problem. Schoen writes that he and Caddell "tend to be more moderate" than "a mainstream liberal" like Bob Beckel. That's one way of putting it -- as Media Matters has pointed out:
Schoen donated to one GOP congressional candidate [last] cycle, and headlined a fundraiser for a second. In February , Caddell was fired from the campaign of Colorado Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff after video emerged of Caddell at a conservative retreat saying that "[t]he whole idea of the environmental movement" is "to basically deconstruct capitalism."
We're shown how on issue after issue, it's difficult to find daylight between the commentary of Schoen and Caddell and that of Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing figures. Caddell has accused Obama of conducting a "Potemkin village presidency" and "Chicago gangsterism." Schoen has claimed that the "real question" raised by the White House's actions is "Is this a democracy?" And on, and on, and on.
In November 2010, Schoen and Caddell were scheduled to appear (.pdf) at a fundraising retreat benefiting conservative activist David Horowitz's organization. Caddell spoke as scheduled, but a note on FrontPageMag.com said that Schoen "got stuck in an airport and couldn't make" his scheduled panel.* Still, Schoen and Caddell are regularly put on Fox News to represent the Democratic side of an issue.
Schoen concludes that Fox News is actually "just good television organized by smart executives, whose political perspective may not be my own, but whose commitment to professionalism and excellence appears clear and unambiguous." Clarity, it seems, is easy if you're getting a paycheck from Fox News.
*Further information about the retreat added.
Media Research Center (MRC) and Fox News appear to be telling journalists that if they investigate the business dealings of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, you will be attacked.
In his bio on FoxNews.com, MRC "Vice President for Business and Culture" Gainor is listed as "the Boone Pickens Fellow" for MRC. Pickens is described by MRC as an "MRC Trustee," has presented at the MRC's annual DisHonor Awards, is listed in their most recent annual report available online (2008) as a "trustee," and was described by MRC founder Brent Bozell in 2006 as "a friend" who "supports" the Media Research Center. Pickens reportedly donated $1 million to the Swift Boat Veterans for The Truth in 2004.
Gainor has written an opinion piece on FoxNews.com attacking progressive philanthropist (and Media Matters donor) George Soros for his donations via the Open Society Foundation into journalistic operations like the non-profit ProPublica:
The ProPublica stories are thoroughly researched by top-notch staffers who used to work at some of the biggest news outlets in the nation. But the topics are almost laughably left-wing. The site's proud list of "Our Investigations" includes attacks on oil companies, gas companies, the health care industry, for-profit schools and more. More than 100 stories on the latest lefty cause: opposition to drilling for natural gas by hydraulic fracking. Another 100 on the evils of the foreclosure industry.
Gainor doesn't seem to have any problem with the factual output of ProPublica, just the fact that it exists and investigates issues. He even says "[t]he ProPublica stories are thoroughly researched by top-notch staffers." So, why the hate?
In news reports on a House Republican proposal that would require the Obama administration to open new areas to offshore drilling, Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse claimed that "97 percent of America's offshore oil remains off-limits." In fact, the areas already open to drilling contain the "vast majority" of estimated offshore oil resources, according to the Energy Information Administration.
After weeks of demanding President Obama "produce the birth certificate" so it can be "over [and] done with," right-wing media figures have begun attacking Obama for releasing his long-form birth certificate, claiming it was done as a "distraction" and complaining it was done to "personally put down his detractors."
Right-wing media responded to the release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate by attacking the president and claiming that certain questions surrounding the document remain unanswered. Below is a sampling of the early attacks by conservative media following the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate.
In December, the EPA's Environmental Appeals Board ordered the EPA to revisit two permits the agency had granted to Shell Oil for oil exploration off the coast of Alaska. The board -- which was responding to an appeal from Alaska native and environmental groups -- determined that the EPA had made two errors in issuing the clean air permits and told the agency's regional office that they needed to be revised. On February 3, Shell announced that the drilling projects would be postponed until after 2011 due to the permit delays and Alaska's short (105 day) offshore drilling season.
According to a search of Nexis and our archive, the Fox News Channel did not cover either the appeals board decision or the Shell announcement ... until this week. After FoxNews.com posted an article on the delayed Shell permits yesterday, Fox News ran segments on the issue during both Happening Now and America Live, two of Fox's purportedly "straight news" daytime shows. Glenn Beck also discussed the Shell permits on his Fox News show.
Why the sudden burst of coverage of a story that is a couple months old? Fox's framing may provide the answer. From America Live:
SHANNON BREAM (host): As gas prices rocket toward $5 a gallon, we're now learning the Environmental Protection Agency has thrown a roadblock in front of an exploration effort that could give the U.S. access to an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil.
Despite repeated denials from government officials, Fox claims to have "confirmed" that federal law enforcement officials have been ordered not to arrest undocumented immigrants, supposedly as a way for the government to lessen apprehension numbers at the border. In fact, the weak U.S. economy and the Obama administration's stepped-up enforcement efforts are principal factors in the decline.
A bit of advice for Fox News host Greta Van Susteren: Don't take your cues from the L.A. Times' serially inaccurate Andrew Malcolm. Writing on her blog, Van Susteren took White House press secretary Jay Carney to task for supposedly speaking out of turn:
Below is a headline from the LA Times and it is a bit weird...I sure hope President Obama's Press Secretary doesn't think HE is the President. He is just the messenger of the Administration. No President of any country should be getting a stern warning (or any warning) from the Press Secretary. The messages should be FROM THE PRESIDENT.
Susteren then linked to this post from Andrew Malcolm headlined "Yemen president gets a stern warning from Obama press secretary." This, like pretty much everything Malcolm writes, is a stretch. The actual press release, seen here, is a standard-issue statement from the White House titled "Statement by the Press Secretary on Violence in Yemen."