Fox's mustachioed libertarian John Stossel tells us today that the "Lost Lesson of Thanksgiving" is that communalism almost killed the pilgrims at Plymouth. He wrote on FoxNews.com that the pilgrims "organized their farm economy along communal lines ... That's why they nearly all starved." Once they "moved from socialism to private farming," they had tons of food and everything was grand. "Because of the change, the first Thanksgiving could be held in November 1623," he says.
Stossel also appeared on Fox News' America Live to share his lesson with host Megyn Kelly. The appearance is currently being promoted on the top of Fox Nation.
So is he right? The New York Times' Kate Zernike noted earlier this week that Stossel's tale has been "related by libertarians and conservatives for years." She talked to a historian who makes clear that the history isn't as simple as Stossel would have us believe. From Zernike's article:
Historians say that the settlers in Plymouth, and their supporters in England, did indeed agree to hold their property in common -- William Bradford, the governor, referred to it in his writings as the "common course." But the plan was in the interest of realizing a profit sooner, and was only intended for the short term; historians say the Pilgrims were more like shareholders in an early corporation than subjects of socialism.
"It was directed ultimately to private profit," said Richard Pickering, a historian of early America and the deputy director of Plimoth Plantation, a museum devoted to keeping the Pilgrims' story alive.
The arrangement did not produce famine. If it had, Bradford would not have declared the three days of sport and feasting in 1621 that became known as the first Thanksgiving. "The celebration would never have happened if the harvest was going to be less than enough to get them by," Mr. Pickering said. "They would have saved it and rationed it to get by."
On November 9, Fox News hosted former Republican congressman J.D. Hayworth to discuss drug-related violence near the border with Mexico. Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade introduced Hayworth by stating: "Our next guest says this is America's third war and we're losing":
KILMEADE: One person's head found in a giftwrapped box. Seven gunned down at a birthday party and dozens more killed in gang-fueled shootouts in the city of Juarez. And that's just this weekend. Our next guest says this is America's third war and we're losing.
DOOCY: Former U.S. congressman and former candidate for US Senate, J.D. Hayworth joins us live from Phoenix. Good morning to you, J.D.
HAYWORTH: Morning Steve. Morning Brian. It's not so much that we're losing a war. We're failing to fight it.
A week after Hayworth's appearance, Fox News debuted a "new series" about the Southern border called "America's Third War." On November 15, Fox's "straight news" programs America's Newsroom, Happening Now, and America Live all featured reports from, in the words of anchor Martha MacCallum, "our new series called 'America's Third War.'" FoxNews.com also published an article titled, "America's Third War: National Guard's New Mission."
And they made graphics:
Fox News is baselessly smearing numerous participants in a "Capitol Hill Prayer Group" as being "among a 'Who's Who' of controversial figures" with "terror ties." But many of those listed are outspoken opponents of terrorism and appear to have no ties to terrorists; indeed, at least one has recently appeared as a guest on Fox News.
One of FoxNews.com's top news stories trumpets a mother's complaints about her son's assignment to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish for his middle school Spanish class:
The article itself reports that school officials say that students and parents were made aware of the assignment for the Spanish class at the beginning of the year, but that the mother did not complain until after her son had failed to complete the assignment.
Does FoxNews.com consider it news that students who do not do their homework receive a zero?
FoxNews.com writes that Fox News contributors Sarah Palin and Karl Rove "butted heads" on election night Tuesday, continuing their fight for the Fox 2012 Primary.
From a November 2 article, titled "Rove, Palin still Diverge on Christine O'Donnell":
Rove drew fire from Palin and other conservatives earlier this year after O'Donnell won the Republican primary in a surprising upset, saying that O'Donnell was unelectable, had made too many mistakes and carried too many skeletons in her background, and would prove detrimental to the party. Palin and others immediately critized Rove's comments.
Tuesday night, in the wake of O'Donnell's defeat, the two FNC contributors showed they still haven't come to an agreement.
Fox News Channel's website, FoxNews.com, is currently pushing baseless allegations that unionized technicians contracted to work on voting machines in Nevada are trying to alter election results. Earlier today, Media Matters noted that Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax called claims of fraud in Nevada's elections "patently false."
Yesterday FoxNews.com reported that a former low-level staffer allegedly lied to federal investigators about her marriage -- prior to going to work for Reid's office. In that article, FoxNews.com gave no indication that Reid or anyone in his office had any knowledge of the investigation or the alleged wrongdoing.
Enter the Review-Journal. While pushing the Fox News smear, Frederick adds:
The Reid folks ain't sayin' much other than to suggest it's a GOP trick. Only problem, it happened on Obama's watch and involves several federal agencies.
In fact, Reid's spokesman are saying that Reid and his office did not know about the allegations until being informed by Fox News, at which time Reid's office conducted an investigation and severed its relationship with the staffer, Diana Tejada. The allegations never resulted in criminal charges against Tejada.
Moreover, contrary to Frederick's claim that "it happened on Obama's watch," the marriage in question occurred in 2003, and Tejada reportedly issued the false statements to federal investigators in 2004 and in 2008. According to the FoxNews.com article Frederick links to, Tejada "broke down and confessed that her marriage was a lie" in November 2008 and filed for divorce in December 2008 -- prior to Obama's inauguration.
Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade and FoxNews.com blogger Eve Zibel both attacked President Obama for failing to mention North Korea in his September 23 speech at the United Nations. In fact, during his speech, Obama listed the "North Korean regime" as an example that "[t]yranny is still with us" -- as an article posted on FoxNews.com made clear.
Did you know that twice every month, for several days at a time (unless it's cloudy), Americans are forced to face a painful reminder of 9-11 every time they look at the night sky?
I'm talking, of course, about the moon, which at the beginning and end of each lunar cycle brashly and insensitively appears to be very similar to a crescent, and the crescent is a symbol of Islam, and all Muslims are to blame for 9-11.
Also, I read on the internet somewhere that some people think Allah is the MOON GOD. Coincidence? Probably! But we just can't take that chance. The moon must be stopped.
And before you dismiss me as a lunatic with too little sense to realize that hunting for secret Islamic shapes hidden in everyday objects as evidence of the creeping Islamic takeover of America exposes only my own ignorance and religious bigotry, consider this: other very serious people are doing the same thing!
Fox News has an entire article treating seriously the complaints of critics who see a suspiciously moon-like crescent in the National Park Service's memorial to the heroes of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. Blogger Pam Geller, who is not at all crazy, was bragging the other day that she's been intrepidly following this controversy for four years, smartly pointing out that not only is the memorial a crescent, but it sort of points east if you look at it a certain way -- and we all know what's east of Pennsylvania, right?
No, not New Jersey. Ever hear of a little place called MECCA? Deny it if you like, but compasses don't lie.
And let's not forget all the other secret crescents that have been turned up in the logos for the Nuclear Security Summit and the Missile Defense Agency, and in President Obama's hair and face. Where does it end?
If we, as Americans, are going to beat the Islamo-fascist-socialist-communist-Marxist terrorists, then we can no longer allow Muslims to use the moon to gloat about 9-11.
Today Fox News published an article stating that in his speech today, president Obama will endorse the extension of all the Bush income tax cuts except those that only benefit families making more than $250,000 -- a proposal that will continue all of the tax cuts for 98 percent of small-business owners (and some of the tax cuts for the remaining 2 percent.)
The article also states that Obama will propose "a permanent expansion of research and development tax credits for companies and new tax breaks that would allow businesses to write off 100 percent of their new capital investments through 2011."
These proposals are unambiguously good for the vast majority of small businesses. And yet, Fox comes up with this headline:
Two recently released polls show that an increasing number of Americans believe the falsehood that President Obama is a Muslim. According to the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of people who believe this false claim cite the media as the source of that information -- and, indeed, the right-wing media have incessantly promoted this lie.
On August 16, FoxNews.com absurdly claimed that President Obama's August 13 and 14 comments supporting the constitutional right of Muslims to build an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan near Ground Zero "elevated" the issue "beyond a local dispute and hurled it into the political arena." Yet pinning this national attention on Obama's recent comments - by Fox News of all outlets -- is disingenuous, at best, and reflects a complete lack of acknowledgement of what its own television hosts and contributors have been doing for months.
As a Media Matters for America report showed, Fox News' primetime shows have provided a megaphone to the Islamic center's opponents since at least May of this year - hosting 35 opponents and only 11 supporters as guests. Likewise, in July, Fox & Friends' co-host Alisyn Camerota fear-mongered that the Islamic center "plan[ned] to launch" on "9/11," and Fox News' Glenn Beck repeated that falsehood on the same show earlier this month, even though one of the executive directors leading the project has said this allegation is "absolutely false."
Tack on Fox News correspondents Sarah Palin's tweets to "Peaceful Muslims" to "refudiate" the center, and Newt Gingrich's media blitzkrieg against the building of the center- both dating back to July-- and it can easily be said that Fox News bears responsibility for nationalizing this issue, not Obama.
As Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow have so brilliantly illustrated, Fox News hosts love to brag about how well they do in the ratings when faced with any criticism. It's their own spin on "I know you are but what I am."
Which is why this report on FoxNews.com's comparatively low traffic from Media Week's Mike Shields was so interesting.
Shields writes (emphasis added):
In the cable TV news world, Fox News Channel is a force to be reckoned with. So why does the network continually get its digital clock cleaned—by CNN, of all rivals?
On the tube, Fox's ratings are so dominant that CNN is turning to prostitution-tarred former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to revive its prime-time lineup. In fact, Fox host Bill O'Reilly recently suggested that rival news nets are all but irrelevant, saying, "If you want to know what's really happening in America, you have to come here." But with millions of Americans turning to the Web for more of their news on a more frequent and immediate basis, can that assessment actually be true?
Foxnews.com averages around 12 million or 13 million monthly unique users, according to Nielsen Online, rarely approaching the 35 million to 40 million uniques that leaders Yahoo News, MSNBC and CNN regularly deliver in aggregate. Some of that disparity can be explained away, as both Yahoo and MSNBC draw heavy traffic from their portal counterparts, and CNN benefits from traffic driven by CNNMoney.com and Sports Illustrated's site.
But even on its own, CNN.com consistently beats Foxnews.com by 7 million or 8 million unique users. Per comScore, the gap is even larger: 43.4 million uniques for CNN.com in June vs. 11.4 million for Foxnews.com. Plus, CNN.com regularly bests Foxnews.com in measures like page views, time spent and video streams—and it has opened an early lead in mobile (14 million uniques vs. 9 million in May for Fox, per Nielsen).
Those numbers have led some to wonder whether Fox's lack of digital success could eventually undermine its influence in American news—particularly as a younger generation gravitates toward getting its headlines from iPhones and iPads rather than TV.
Since Fox News has such disdain for science in general I thought it perfectly acceptable to point to this unscientific online poll from Fox News that shows more than 70 percent of those responding agreeing with last week's U.S. District Court decision that ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional.
With pleasure, I direct you to this interesting Fox News online poll in which at the time of this posting 300,499 votes had been cast.
The poll poses the following issue and question:
A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Prop. 8, California's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. Do you agree with the judge's decision?
Kudos to Fox for asking this important question straightforwardly.
Although Fox notes that this is not a scientific poll, the response thus far strongly affirms the decision by Judge Vaughn Walker to strike down the California anti-same sex marriage Proposition 8.
Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has now filed a brief with the courts calling for gay marriages to immediately resume.
Here are the current responses to the Fox poll:
Yes -- Prop. 8 violates the Constitution. 71.1% (213,547 votes)
No -- Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. I don't care what the judge thinks about the Constitution. 24.8% (74,455 votes)
I'm not sure but shouldn't the voters views count for something? 3.6% (10,812 votes)
Other (leave a comment). 0.6% (1,685 votes)
Total Votes: 300,499
I've received a link to this poll from many friends so I seriously doubt that the Fox News audience actually feels this way -- especially when you consider the anti-gay coverage they are exposed to so frequently. However, it's always nice to highlight an online Fox News poll when it contradicts the prevailing talking points of the right-wing network.
In articles on Judge Vaughn Walker's decision to overturn the gay marriage ban in California, FoxNews.com and The Washington Times did not note that Walker was nominated as a federal judge by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. But in reports on Judge Susan Bolton's decision to block portions of the Arizona immigration law, both outlets noted that President Clinton nominated Bolton.