Fox & Friends has waged an unlikely and often bizarre campaign to discredit Politico, even to the point of stooping to broadcast anonymous Politico reader comments critical of a post on Fox News chairman Roger Ailes. Largely, however, Fox & Friends' effort to attack Politico has been to attempt to assign a left-wing bias to its reporting. This morning, guest host Eric Bolling continued this effort by hosting Jeff Poor of the conservative website The Daily Caller to claim that Politico's reporting on allegations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain definitively demonstrated that Politico "leans left, but they keep denying it."
Poor claimed that Politico ran 138 Cain-related stories over the course of a week, while devoting less coverage to "other high-profile stories ... like Fast and Furious and the Solyndra scandal." More evidence presented over the course of the segment was that Jonathan Martin, a reporter at Politico, and Betsy Fischer, executive producer of NBC's Meet the Press, are engaged, or as Bolling put it, "If I'm not mistaken, Jonathan Martin -- they call him Mr. Betsy Fischer."
Fox & Friends also aired the following on-screen graphic to illustrate the connection between MSNBC and Politico:
But if Politico's reporting on the Cain scandal reveals its left-wing bias, as Bolling and Poor claim, what does that say about Fox News?
Responding to a report that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain allegedly engaged in "sexually suggestive behavior" in the 1990s, right-wing media figures have turned to race-baiting, arguing that Cain is being targeted because he is a "black conservative" and that he is the victim of a "high-tech lynching."
This Sunday saw the right-wing launch some nasty attacks on one of their own after Meghan McCain spoke out against Christine O'Donnell -- and was basically told by conservative pundits, "Sit down and shut up, woman."
During her appearance on ABC's The Week on October 17, McCain said O'Donnell is "seen as a nutjob," and explained, "I speak as a 26-year-old woman. And my problem is that, no matter what, Christine O'Donnell is making a mockery of running for public office. She has no real history, no real success in any kind of business. And what that sends to my generation is, one day, you can just wake up and run for Senate, no matter how [much] lack of experience you have."
What did her political discourse earn her? Misogynistic attacks from right-wing pundits. Blogger Doug Powers kicked off the mud-slinging with a post on Michelle Malkin's blog Sunday morning. He began his post with a photo of McCain that spurred controversy after she posted it on Twitter a year ago and commented, "Disregard the above photo. I'm only putting it there to remind myself to check my tire pressure later this afternoon."
Later that day, conservative blogger Dan Riehl on his blog Riehl World View referred to McCain as "Meggie 'Big Mac' McCain" and wrote that "this self-indulgent set of mega-breasts doesn't belong anywhere near a TV studio commenting on anything."
Jeff Poor, a staff writer for the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute, rounded out the evening by re-tweeting a conservative blogger's comment that "I swear, if Meghan McCain gets any dumber she'll be drooling on her boobs" with the remark: "Haha."
Wow. All of these commentators would throw a fit -- rightly -- if sexist attacks were launched on Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, or Sharron Angle. If they disagree with the substance of McCain's remarks, why are they going after her body instead?
Newsbusters' Jeff Poor issues a proclamation:
We've already seen how ineffective the previous $787-billion stimulus Congress and the President forced through earlier this year has been with curbing unemployment, as it has raced into double-digits over the previous months. But will there be an effort to force through another one?
Now, let's set aside the question of whether the first stimulus really has been "ineffective" for a moment.
Poor never once entertains the possibility that if it has been ineffective (or insufficiently effective), it's because it was too small. This despite the fact that many economists at the time said it should be bigger. And despite the fact that conservative economist Martin Feldstein, a former Reagan administration official, says "There should have been more direct federal spending," and former McCain economic advisor Mark Zandi says "there was a considerable amount of hand-wringing that it was too small, and I sympathized with that argument." Zandi also says "the stimulus is doing what it was supposed to do - it is contributing to ending the recession. ... In my view, without the stimulus, G.D.P. would still be negative and unemployment would be firmly over 11 percent. And there are a little over 1.1 million more jobs out there as of October than would have been out there without the stimulus."
No, forget all that: Newsbusters' Jeff Poor says the stimulus has been ineffective, and there shouldn't be any more. He doesn't offer any evidence or expert analysis -- but why would we need any? He's Newsbuster Jeff Poor. Isn't that enough?
What's funnier than watching right-wingers try to convince each other that 500,000 ... No, a million ... No, two million ... Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket, two million people showed up for their anti-Obama protest over the weekend?
Watching right-wingers who realize that nobody will believe those sad little lies try to pretend that the inflated claims were merely made on a few obscure blogs.
Here's Newsbusters' Jeff Poor dismissing the inflated claims as the work of a few obscure bloggers:
And MSNBC's resident left-wing curmudgeon-in-training David Shuster didn't disappoint. The former host of the canceled "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" took a report from the Huffington Post debunking attendance figures and attempted to belittle the event. The story focused on an old photograph that had been circulating on some minor conservative blogs showing a huge crowd for the Sept. 12 march.
But the inflated crowd claims weren't limited to "some minor conservative blogs," as Poor would have you believe. Indeed, protest organizer Matt Kibbe claimed from the rally stage that ABC News had reported between 1 and 1.5 million people were at the rally. (ABC had reported nothing of the kind, because nothing of the kind was even remotely close to true.)
But here's what's really hilarious: Poor's Newsbusters' colleague Tom Blumer claimed on Sunday that the rally "drew an estimated 1-2 million people." (Blumer hasn't corrected his post.) Blumer didn't use the phony photos to support his claim; but he did accept and promote the wildly inflated crowd numbers they purportedly demonstrated.
Newsbusters' Tom Bumer, 9/13: "the D.C. rally yesterday that drew an estimated 1-2 million people."
Newsbusters' Jeff Poor, 9/15: "The [Huffington Post] story focused on an old photograph that had been circulating on some minor conservative blogs showing a huge crowd for the Sept. 12 march."