"Charity is commendable, everyone should be charitable. But Justice aims to create a social order in which, if individuals choose not to be charitable, people still don't go hungry, unschooled or sick without care. Charity depends on the vicissitudes of whim and personal wealth, justice depends on commitment instead of circumstance.
Faith-based charity provides crumbs from the table; faith-based justice offers a place at the table"
~Bill Moyers

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What if Fox News threw a tea party and nobody came?

From: Media Matters for America Apr 04/17/09

While millions of people were scrambling to make it to the post office by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, far, far fewer showed up at Fox News' Tax Day Tea Parties. Media Matters for America extensively documented the incessant promotion of the tea parties by Fox News and its anchors and contributors. In fact, in the 10 days leading up to the protests, Fox News aired 107 ads promoting them. And in addition to encouraging its viewers to attend the protests, Fox News announced that viewers who couldn't attend could attend "a virtual tax day tea party" at TheFoxNation.com.

Well, tax day arrived, and Fox News didn't disappoint. Reporting from a protest in Boston, Fox Business Network anchor Cody Willard stated, "I'm on your side. I'm trying to take down the Fed." He also asked, "Guys, when are we going to wake up and start fighting the fascism that seems to be permeating this country?" At a protest in front of the Alamo, Glenn Beck hosted unofficial NRA head Ted Nugent, who played guitar while Beck interviewed Joe Horn, who was identified by a Fox News graphic as having "shot 2 illegals burglarizing home." Of course, Beck wasn't covering the protest so much as leading it. Meanwhile, John Gibson expressed his "hope[]" that "millions of people" would participate in the protests, while Neil Cavuto appeared to inflate the numbers at the rally he was attending in Sacramento. Cavuto stated of the Sacramento tea party: "They were expecting 5,000 here, it's got to be easily double, if not triple that." However, moments earlier, before Cavuto went on the air, a microphone caught Cavuto stating to a producer "There's gotta be 5,000" -- not "double, if not triple" that number.

Geraldo Rivera was not impressed, asserting, "The grand total of all of the tea party demonstrators" was less than the number "at that immigration rally in 2006 in the city of Chicago alone." Rivera added that the immigration rally was a "truly spontaneous demonstration," while the tea parties "may have had aspects of spontaneity."

Colbert marvels at "unexpected...spontaneous" tea parties, adds "I would like to throw my support behind this grassroots effort by Fox News Corporation"

Published Thu, Apr 16, 2009 8:37am ET by Media Matters staff

While Bill O'Reilly was defending Fox News' coverage of the tea parties, calling it "vastly superior to anything else around," other networks were calling out Fox News for its support of the protests. On CNN, reporter Susan Roesgen grilled a Chicago protester who referred to President Obama as a "fascist" and said the protests were "highly promoted by the right-wing conservative network Fox." On the CBS Evening News, reporter Dean Reynolds cited Beck and Cavuto as among the "rightward-leaning commentators" who "embraced the cause." On ABC's World News, reporter Dan Harris said the protests were "cheered on by Fox News and talk radio." And CNN's Howard Kurtz asserted: "I don't think I've ever seen a news network throw its weight behind a protest like we are seeing in the past few weeks with Fox and these tea parties."

But Stephen Colbert summed it up best: "I would like to throw my support behind this grassroots effort by Fox News Corporation."

Conservatives freak out about a report on extremist hate groups

Overshadowing the tea-party protests was the leaking of an April 7 Department of Homeland Security intelligence assessment of right-wing extremism. Several conservative media figures chose to align themselves with the violent and racist hate groups mentioned in the report rather than the DHS. The report sought to identify factors -- such as the economic downturn and an African-American president -- that these extremist groups would use to target new recruits. Rush Limbaugh claimed: "[Y]ou have a report from Janet Napolitano and Barack Obama Department of Homeland Security portraying standard, ordinary, everyday conservatives as posing a bigger threat to this country than Al Qaeda terrorists or genuine enemies of this country like Kim Jong-Il." And Sean Hannity stated that the DHS "is warning law enforcement officials about the rise in right-wing extremist activity" and asserted that the department "would define it as people that maybe think we're not controlling our borders, people that have pro-life bumper stickers." And Lou Dobbs asked his viewers: "Do you think a person concerned about borders and ports that are unsecured, illegal immigration, Second Amendment rights, or a returning veteran from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is likely or even possibly probable, as the Department of Homeland Security suggests, to be a right-wing extremist?" Of course, the report doesn't actually say that, but Dobbs' point was echoed ad nauseam in the conservative media. Rather than explaining that the report focused on how certain views are used as tools by hate groups to recruit, the DHS report was portrayed as an indictment of anyone who holds those views.

Conservative media also seized upon an aspect of the report -- that returning military veterans are likely to be targeted by extremist groups -- to claim that the report considered war veterans a threat. Cavuto claimed that the report "more or less states the government considers you a terrorist threat if you oppose abortion, speak out against illegal immigration, or you are a returning war veteran." In fact, the report concludes that "rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat."

More significantly, in reporting on this aspect of the report, Cavuto and others in the conservative media did not note that in reaching its conclusion about returning veterans, the DHS cited a 2008 FBI report -- authored during the Bush administration -- that stated, in the words of the DHS, that "some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined extremist groups." But it should come as no surprise that conservative media figures would overlook the Bush administration's role in their efforts to portray the Obama administration as anti-military.

While decrying the partisan nature of the report, most media outlets also failed to note that the DHS issued an assessment on January 26 of left-wing extremism, which concluded that "a number of emerging trends point to leftwing extremists maturing and expanding their cyber attack capabilities over the next decade with the aim of attacking targets in the United States."

The paranoia persisted on Fox News, even after Shepard Smith and Catherine Herridge debunked the claims on which much of it was based. Herridge noted the January DHS report and said: "[E]ven at the end of last year, prior to the inauguration, the Homeland Security Department under the Bush administration was sounding the alarm about the potential for right-wing groups to act, specifically because of the economy, and also because America was going to have its first African-American president." Herridge also asserted: "I would point out that both of these assessments ... were commissioned under the Bush administration. It takes some time to do them. They only came out after he had left office."

Since the DHS report came to light on the eve of the tea parties, several media figures drew a link between those events and the DHS report, suggesting that the DHS would be watching the protesters. Limbaugh claimed: "When Obama's policies are the centerpiece then the people that showed up at the tea parties have to be monitored by Homeland Security." And TheFoxNation.com ran the headline: "Is Homeland Security Targeting Tea Parties?"

Other noteworthy quotes this week:

  • Following a three-judge panel's ruling in the Minnesota Senate race that Democratic candidate Al Franken "won," Joe Scarborough asked, "[W]hen are the Republicans going to give up the ghost on this?" He continued: "Seriously. Norm [Coleman], I like you. You lost, OK?" He again added: "It's over. I'm sorry."
  • Bernard Goldberg, author of A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media, told Hannity: "I'm sorry, Sean ... but we have to stop going out of our way to find fault with every single thing he [Obama] does."
  • In an April 15 Spectator article, former Bush speechwriter David Frum wrote: "[T]o listen to Fox News and other conservative media, you'd think we were living in Czechoslovakia in the final hours before the 1948 communist coup."
  • On MSNBC, Chris Matthews called Texas Gov. Rick Perry a "bozo" and said, "I'm sorry ... you can't decide whether to stay in the Union or not." He added: "Why are you talking about secession? That is whack-job stuff."
  • On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Minneapolis radio host Chris Baker said of stimulus spending: "The craziest expenditure I've seen so far is Ed Rendell in Pennsylvania. To cheer up the people of Pennsylvania -- a World Series apparently didn't do it -- but they're hiring comics, magicians, and mimes. True. Check the facts." In fact, Baker was apparently the victim of an April Fools' Day joke by The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

This week's media columns

This week, Media Matters Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert examines Fox News' militia media: mainstreaming the fringe, while Senior Fellow Jamison Foser examines the media's weak tea -- their failure to report on the real problem of taxation without representation in D.C.

Week in Review video

This weekly wrap-up was compiled by Brian Frederick, deputy editorial director at Media Matters for America. He holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Colorado.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, our aim is to publish all comments; the exceptions will be those which advocate violence, threats of violence, spam, and shameless 'pimping' of blogs or sites.

A link to an article or post, in and by itself, does not qualify as a comment.

These comments(?) will be promptly and gleefuly rejected.

It is ok to us if you'd want to publish a link to your blog or website, as long as it is done in an honest way, i.e., in a comment which is to the point and relevant to the post you are commenting on.

I also appreciate your visit very much.

"The Administrator" AKA Aurora

Fare well,

Subscribe to El Rinconcito de Aurora - - Subscribe in a reader
Powered by FeedBurner - - Add to Google Reader or Homepage - Subscribe in podnova -

Back to Top