Shareholders attack!: A powerful group of News Corp’s shareholders have accused Rupert Murdoch of “egregious” behaviour and treating his media empire like a “family candy jar”.
The shareholder group, which includes banks and pension funds, accused Murdoch of “rampant nepotism” and using News Corp resources for “his own personal and political objectives” - More at the Guardian
“Fox News will lie about this” SF Pro-Wisconsin Solidarity Rally
San Francisco, CA
Requiem for a Rodeo Clown (by mediamatters4america)
For a more comprehensive list of examples, see below:
Sammon Has Repeatedly Been Caught Distorting Fox’s “News” Coverage. Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon has repeatedly been caught politicizing the coverage of Fox’s “news” programs, even resorting to deception to do so. It was revealed in a series of emails leaked to Media Matters that Sammon:
Fox News President Roger Ailes Defended Glenn Beck’s Frequent Use Of Holocaust Imagery, Called NPR Execs “Nazis.” In July 2010, representatives from the Jewish Funds for Justice met with Fox News president Roger Ailes to discuss the group’s concerns about Beck’s frequent use of Nazi rhetoric to attack them and other progressives. While Ailes reportedly agreed it was a problem and promised to speak with Beck about it, just a few months later Ailes was defending Beck’s extreme rhetoric and employing it himself. As Esquire reported, Ailes responded to complaints of Beck’s continued Nazi rhetoric to smear George Soros in the fall of 2010 by saying, “Well have you ever heard of freedom of speech?” days before he himself referred to NPR executives as Nazis:
Then, in short order last fall, Beck devoted three programs to attacking Jewish financier George Soros, in part by implicating him as an agent of the Holocaust. Did Ailes take the resulting uproar seriously? “I think Rupert got a few letters,” he told Esquire. “He sent them down to me. I answer them — I just say, Well have you ever heard of freedom of speech? It’s in the Constitution, we do it, and I’m sorry you didn’t like, but if Mr. Soros would like to come on our channel and present an alternative view, we would be happy to have him.”
Ailes Apologized To ADL For Calling NPR Execs “Nazis,” But He Did Not Apologize To NPR Or Back Down From His Defense Of Beck. In a November 19, 2010, article, NPR reported that while Fox News president Roger Ailes apologized to the head of the American Defamation League for calling NPR executives “Nazis” (Ailes reportedly stated that he should have said “nasty inflexible bigot” instead), he “has not apologized to NPR executives.” Furthermore, Ailes did not apologize for his defense of Beck’s rhetoric, but instead reportedly said he was upset at the rabbis who called for an end to Beck’s rhetoric. [NPR, 11/19/10]
Beck’s Rhetoric Later Prompted 400 Rabbis To Urge Fox To Sanction Beck. Beck’s Nazi rhetoric continued into January 2011, prompting the Jewish Funds for Justice to write a letter, signed by 400 rabbis, condemning Beck. Beck responded by comparing Reform Judaism to “radicalized Islam.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 2/22/11, via Media Matters]
Right-Wing Activist Alleged Racially Charged “Corruption” In Obama DOJ’s Handling Of New Black Panther Party Case. In 2008, two members of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), one of whom was carrying a nightstick, stood outside a Philadelphia polling place. The NBPP members were later brought up on civil charges of voter intimidation. In 2010, Fox News eagerly and aggressively promoted the allegations pushed by J. Christian Adams, a right-wing activist tied to the Bush-era politicization of the Justice Department, and his supporters that President Obama’s Justice Department engaged in racially charged “corruption” in the New Black Panther Party case by choosing not to pursue voter intimidation charges against the NBPP. In fact, Bush’s Justice Department, not Obama’s, made the decision not to pursue criminal charges against the NBPP, and no voters came forward to say they were intimidated from voting on account of the NBPP’s presence. [Media Matters, 7/19/10]
Despite Falseshoods, Megyn Kelly Led Media “Kicking And Screaming” To Baseless New Black Panther Party Allegations. The push was led in large part by Megyn Kelly, who bragged that she helped Fox News drag the rest of the media to the story “kicking and screaming.” [Fox News, America Live, 7/12/10, via Media Matters]
Kelly Devoted More Than Three And A Half Hours Of Her “News” Show To Hyping Scandal; Fox Gave Total Of 88 Seconds To Its Debunking. Media Matters found that in the fifteen days following Kelly’s initial June 30, 2010, interview hyping the unsubstantiated allegations of J. Christian Adams, six Fox News shows devoted 95 segments and more than eight hours of airtime to the phony New Black Panthers scandal — including more than 3.5 hours on Kelly’s “news” show alone. By contrast, those shows have devoted a total of two segments and 88 seconds to the Justice Department’s release of the results of an internal investigation clearing DOJ officials of any wrongdoing or misconduct in that case. [Media Matters, 4/13/11]
Kelly On Sotomayor’s “Wise Latina” Remark: “Sounds To A Lot Of People Like Reverse Racism.” In 2002, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit at the time, remarked on the importance of judicial diversity in determining race and sex discrimination cases, stating that in those cases she “would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” On May 26, 2009, when Sotomayor was a Supreme Court nominee, America’s Newsroom co-host Megyn Kelly joined conservative commentators, including Rush Limbaugh, by stating that Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” remark “sounds to a lot of people like reverse racism, basically. Like she’s saying that Latina judges are obviously better than white male judges, and that that’s her assumption, and people get worried about putting a person like that on the U.S. Supreme Court.” Kelly later added, “I’ve looked at the entire speech that she was offering to see if that was taken out of context, and I have to tell you … it wasn’t.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 5/26/09, via Media Matters]
Tucker Carlson: When Dems Say Reid Supports Civil Rights, “What They’re Saying Is He’s For Racial Set-Asides.” On Happening Now, discussing 2008 comments by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson said that he was “amazed by the number of Democrats you hear saying we support Reid because he supports civil rights — as if his opponents don’t support civil rights.” Carlson then claimed that “what they’re saying is he’s for racial set-asides, therefore, given that pay-off, he gets a pass when he uses the phrase ‘negro dialect.’ ” [Fox News, Happening Now, 1/11/10, via Media Matters]
Former Fox News Host E.D. Hill On Obama: “A Fist Bump? A Pound? A Terrorist Fist Jab?” Teasing a segment on the “gesture everyone seems to interpret differently,” E.D. Hill, then the host of Fox News’ America’s Pulse, said: “A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab? … We’ll show you some interesting body communication and find out what it really says.” In the ensuing discussion with a “body language expert,” Hill referred to the “Michelle and Barack Obama fist bump or fist pound,” but at no point did she explain her earlier reference to “a terrorist fist jab.” Hill later stated of her remark: “I apologize because unfortunately, some thought that I personally had characterized [the fist bump] inappropriately. I regret that. It was not my intention.” [Fox News, America’s Pulse, 6/6/08, 6/10/08, via Media Matters]
Ralph Peters Suggested That If A Taliban-Held Soldier Is A Deserter, “The Taliban Can Save Us A Lot Of Legal Hassles And Legal Bills” By Killing Him. Fox News contributor and retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters asserted of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban in June 2009 and appeared in two Taliban propaganda videos: “[W]e know this private is a liar; we’re not sure if he’s a deserter.” Peters added that if he is a deserter, “the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.” NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski subsequently reported that the Pentagon said Peters’ comments “could endanger” the captured soldier, and his remarks were condemned by a bipartisan group of 23 veterans serving in Congress. Following the flood of criticism, Peters’ subsequently stated of the soldier: “I do hope for his family’s sake this guy comes back safely.” [Fox News, America’s News HQ, 7/19/09, via Media Matters; Letter from 23 members of Congress, 7/21/09, via Media Matters; Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 7/21/09, via Media Matters]
Cal Thomas Claimed Health Care Reform “Is An Outrage” And “A Sham”; “Euthanasia Is Coming.” On Fox News’ America’s News HQ, columnist Cal Thomas said the health bill is “a triumph of the humanistic, atheistic philosophy. Instead of being endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, those rights are going to be taken away by bureaucrats who will decide whether you get a hip replacement or a heart bypass, based on your age and your ability to pay more taxes.” He continued:
It is an outrage. It is a sham. Euthanasia is coming. You can call them death panels. That’s exactly what they’re going to be. We are going to really be sorry for this, but, unfortunately, when the guy in the white robe comes to give us our little pill, as President Obama told ABC, the 100-year-old woman who wants to live must get in order to make it equal for everybody and not to spend so much, it will be too late. [Fox News, America’s News HQ, 11/21/09, via Media Matters]
Fox “News” Shows Spread Falsehoods About DREAM Act. Media Matters documented several Fox “news” programs spreading falsehoods about the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to legal status for certain immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. For example, Lou Dobbs falsely claimed on America’s Newsroom that the DREAM Act “permits those who have avoided their deportation hearings” and “[t]hose guilty of misdemeanors,” and Fox News host Greg Jarrett falsely claimed on America Live that “for millions of illegals, the Dream Act … would fulfill their dream of jumping right to the front of the line and becoming U.S. citizens.” [Media Matters, 11/24/10]
Fox “News” Shows Have Repeatedly Used “Illegals” Slur. Fox “news” shows have repeatedly used the “illegals” slur when referring to undocumented immigrants. For example, on April 19, Fox News repeatedly used the term on two of its “news” shows, America Live and Special Report. On America Live, Fox News correspondent Molly Hennenberg stated that “President Obama has chided Republicans for not getting on board with the Democrats’ view of immigration reform which is a pathway to citizenship for illegals and border security.” During the same segment, Fox displayed the caption “Border Patrol Apprehended 445K+ Illegals Entering The U.S. In FY 2010.” Similarly, on Special Report that evening, Hennenberg stated that “Democrats want a pathway to citizenship for illegals.” While the term is often used on Fox News, prominent journalists’ associations have denounced its use by the news media, noting that it “criminaliz[es] the person, not the action,” and “skew[s] the public debate on immigration issues.” [Media Matters, 4/20/11; Media Matters, 2/5/10]
Fox News’ Trace Gallagher Conflated “Hispanics” With “Illegals.” On the November 15, 2010, edition of America Live, Fox News correspondent Trace Gallagher conflated “Hispanics” with “illegals.” While discussing a study that found that 100,000 “Hispanics” had left Arizona since the passage of the state’s anti-immigration law (SB 1070), Gallagher asserted that the study found that “100,000 illegals have now left Arizona.” [Fox News, America Live, 11/12/10, via Media Matters]
Sean Hannity: “Produce The Birth Certificate, It’s Over And Done With.” On the March 24 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity asked: “What’s the deal? Produce the birth certificate, it’s over and done with.” He later again demanded that Obama “[s]how the birth certificate” and asked, “Why won’t they release the birth certificate?” In fact, Obama has released his birth certificate. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/24/11, via Media Matters; Media Matters, 4/7/11]
Sarah Palin On Trump Allegedly Sending Researchers To Hawaii To Investigate Obama’s Birth Certificate: “More Power To Him.” On the April 9 edition of Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin said of Trump’s claim that he sent researchers to Hawaii to investigate Obama’s birth certificate: “More power to him.” Palin later stated, “I think that [Obama] was born in Hawaii, because there was the birth announcement put in the newspaper, but obviously, if there’s something there that the president doesn’t want people to see on that birth certificate, that he [seems to] be going to great lengths to make sure that it isn’t shown, and that’s kind of perplexing for a lot of people.” [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 4/9/11, via Media Matters]
Steve Doocy: “He Could End It Simply, Just Show [The Birth Certificate] To Us.” During an interview with Trump on the April 18 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy responded to Trump’s claim that Obama “has not given a birth certificate” by saying, “He could end it simply, just show it to us, and it’d be over.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/18/11, via Media Matters]
"Bor[ed]" Of Birth Certificate Issue, O’Reilly Calls For Obama To "Put This Whole Thing To Bed." On the April 8 edition of his Fox News show, Bill O’Reilly said that the birth certificate issue is “getting boring” and that Obama should “put this whole thing to bed.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 4/8/11, via Media Matters]
After Hosting Trump Birther Theories, Fox & Friends Increased Promotion Of Trump’s Weekly Fox & Friends Appearances. Following Trump’s public embrace of birther theories, Fox News began to increase their promotion of Trump’s regular weekly segment on Fox & Friends. [Media Matters, 4/3/11]
Bill Sammon In 2008: Obama’s “Views On The White Race” Are “Fairly Controversial.” During a 2008 appearance on conservative Hugh Hewitt’s radio program, Bill Sammon, then a Fox News contributor and now Fox News’ Washington managing editor, said, “I’ve always felt that it’s not going to be Jeremiah Wright’s views on race that are necessarily going to doom Barack Obama’s presidential bid. It’s Barack Obama’s own views on the white race which are, I think, fairly controversial.” [Salem Radio Network, The Hugh Hewitt Show, 3/28/08, via Media Matters]
Hannity Defended Beck: “Can One Conclude That There Are Issues With The President? Black Liberation Theology?” On the March 9 edition Fox News’ Hannity, after guest Penny Lee brought up that Beck “called the president of the United States, almost — you know, referred to him as a racist,” Sean Hannity defended Beck, saying: “But wait a minute. Wait, hang on a second. When the president hangs out with Jeremiah Wright for 20 years, I’m — can one conclude that there are issues with the president? Black liberation theology?” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/9/10, via Media Matters]
Gingrich: Obama Has A “Kenyan, Anti-Colonial” Worldview. In a September 2010 interview with National Review Online, then-Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich asked: “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” He added: “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.” [NRO, 9/11/10]
Huckabee: Obama Purportedly Returning Churchill Bust “A Great Insult To The British,” Done Because Of “Kenyan Father And Grandfather.” On the February 28 edition of WOR’s The Steve Malzberg Show, Fox News host Mike Huckabee asserted:
HUCKABEE: I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. When he gave the bust back to the Brits —
MALZBERG: Of Winston Churchill.
HUCKABEE: The bust of Winston Churchill, a great insult to the British. But then if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather. [WOR, The Steve Malzberg Show, 2/28/11, via Media Matters]
Morris: “Those Crazies In Montana Who Say, ‘We’re Going To Kill ATF Agents Because The U.N.’s Going To Take Over’ — Well, They’re Beginning To Have A Case.” During a long conspiracy theory about a “super-national authority” that will oversee U.S. financial institutions, Fox News contributor Dick Morris asserted that Obama’s policies are “internationalist” and that “[t]hose crazies in Montana who say, ‘We’re going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.’s going to take over’ — well, they’re beginning to have a case.” [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 3/31/09, via Media Matters]
Scheuer: “The Only Chance We Have As A Country Right Now Is” For Bin Laden To “Detonate A Major Weapon” In U.S. Michael Scheuer, who has frequently appeared on Fox News as a terrorism expert, said during an appearance on Glenn Beck, “The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 6/30/09, via Media Matters]
Kilmeade: “Not All Muslims Are Terrorists, But All Terrorists Are Muslims.” On the October 15 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade defended Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s comments on the October 14 edition of ABC’s The View by claiming the show’s hosts “were outraged that somebody was saying there’s a reason — there was a certain group of people that attacked us on 9-11. It wasn’t just one person. It was one religion. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” Later that day on his radio show, Kilmeade claimed that it’s a “fact” that “every terrorist is a Muslim.” Kilmeade later apologized, saying on Fox & Friends: “I’m sorry about that, if I offended or hurt anybody’s feelings. But that’s it,” and clarifying on his radio show that he “should have said” that “all terrorists who killed us on 9-11 with the Cole and the Khobar and the ‘98 embassies” were Muslim. [Media Matters, 10/18/10; Fox News Radio, Kilmeade & Friends, 10/18/10, via Media Matters]
Peter Johnson Jr.: New York Muslims Should “Give Up Their Rights” In Order To Be “Good Neighbors.” Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. stated on the August 20, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends that the issue of the Park51 Islamic center is “about neighbors becoming good neighbors.” He added: “Any American can assert a right. Great Americans give up their rights to help those they share nothing else with but a love of this country.” On September 3, Johnson repeated that those building the Islamic center should “give up their First Amendment rights.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/20/10, 9/3/10, via Media Matters]
O’Reilly: “[T]here Is A Muslim Problem In The World.” On the October 18, 2010, edition of his Fox News show, O’Reilly stated that “folks are fed up with politically correct nonsense. There’s no question there is a Muslim problem in the world” and “most Americans well understand the danger coming out of the Muslim world.” His on-screen text read: “The Muslim Dilemma.”[Fox News, O’Reilly Factor, 10/18/10, via Media Matters]
Fox Hosted Anti-Immigrant Leader To Launch Baseless Attacks On DREAM Act. On November 30, 2010, Fox & Friends hosted William Gheen, president of the anti-immigrant Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), to attack the DREAM Act, a bill that would provide a path to legal status for certain immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Gheen not only rehashed falsehoods about the bill, but also levied several absurd claims, such as that the bill would “displace and replace” millions of American citizens and that its passage would mean that Americans can “kiss the borders of the United States goodbye.” Gheen and ALIPAC have a long history of extreme nativist rhetoric and have been linked to white supremacist groups. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 11/30/10, via Media Matters]
Fox & Friends Hosted Hate Group Head To Push “Anchor Baby” Myth. Similarly, on March 30, Fox & Friends hosted Dan Stein, head of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), to fearmonger both about “anchor babies” and so-called “birth tourism.” But the “anchor baby” concept is a myth, pushed by anti-immigrant groups like FAIR, which has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center; additionally, the number of children born to women visiting the United States is “fairly miniscule.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/30/11, via Media Matters, ]
Fox Launched All Out Assault On The DREAM Act. During the debate over the DREAM Act, Media Matters documented Fox News personalities repeatedly attacking the bill. For example, Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl claimed the bill provided “a safe harbor for criminal aliens,” Fox News legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle claimed the bill “incentives illegality,” and Fox News contributor Mike Gallagher claimed the bill is akin to a bankrobber’s child being allowed to keep the proceeds of a robbery. [Media Matters, 11/24/10]
Huckabee Uses Role At Fox News To Launch Anti-Gay Attacks. Media Matters has documented that since becoming a Fox News host, Mike Huckabee has frequently launched anti-gay attacks, including comparing homosexuality to drug use and incest, claiming that same-sex marriage is a threat to a “stable society,” and promoting virulently anti-gay guests. [Media Matters, 3/2/11]
Fox Repeatedly Launched Anti-Gay Attacks On Obama’s Safe Schools Official Kevin Jennings. During the fall of 2009, Media Matters documented Fox News frequently turning its attention to smearing Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools director and gay rights activist Kevin Jennings, including Fox Nation referring to Jennings as a “pervert”; Kirsten Powers, Hannity and several other Fox personalities claiming Jennings should be fired for allegedly facilitating statutory rape; and Fox News contributor Karl Rove falsely calling Jennings an “in-your-face advoca[te]” of NAMBLA. [Media Matters, 10/9/09]
Fox Personalities Dubiously Suggested Obama’s DOMA Decision Is Unlawful. Several Fox figures decried the Obama administration’s decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act. For example, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley called the decision “a form of dictatorship,” Hannity suggested the move is unlawful, and Fox News contributor Jonah Goldberg claimed Obama violated his oath of office. In fact, presidents from Thomas Jefferson to George W. Bush have opted against defending statutes they viewed as unconstitutional. [Media Matters, 2/25/11]
Bill O’Reilly Has Repeatedly Claimed Same-Sex Marriage Could Lead To People Marrying Animals. O’Reilly has repeatedly suggested that gay marriage could ultimately allow for a person to marry “a turtle,” “a goat,” “a duck,” and “a dolphin.” [Media Matters, 5/12/09]
Breitbart: “I am misunderstood by the mainstream media”
In newly uncovered audio, a Fox News executive boasts that he lied repeatedly during the closing days of the 2008 presidential campaign when he speculated on-air “about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism.”
The liberal group Media Matters has quietly transformed itself in preparation for what its founder, David Brock, described in an interview as an all-out campaign of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” aimed at the Fox News Channel.
The group, launched as a more traditional media critic, has all but abandoned its monitoring of newspapers and other television networks and is narrowing its focus to Fox and a handful of conservative websites, which its leaders view as political organizations and the “nerve center” of the conservative movement. The shift reflects the centrality of the cable channel to the contemporary conservative movement, as well as the loathing it inspires among liberals — not least among the donors who fund Media Matters’ staff of about 90, who are arrayed in neat rows in a giant war room above Massachusetts Avenue.
“The strategy that we had had toward Fox was basically a strategy of containment,” said Brock, Media Matters’ chairman and founder and a former conservative journalist, adding that the group’s main aim had been to challenge the factual claims of the channel and to attempt to prevent them from reaching the mainstream media.
The new strategy, he said, is a “war on Fox.”
In an interview and a 2010 planning memo shared with POLITICO, Brock listed the fronts on which Media Matters — which he said is operating on a $10 million-plus annual budget — is working to chip away at Fox and its parent company, News Corp. They include its bread-and-butter distribution of embarrassing clips and attempts to rebut Fox points, as well as a series of under-the-radar tactics.
Media Matters, Brock said, is assembling opposition research files not only on Fox’s top executives but on a series of midlevel officials. It has hired an activist who has led a successful campaign to press advertisers to avoid Glenn Beck’s show. The group is assembling a legal team to help people who have clashed with Fox to file lawsuits for defamation, invasion of privacy or other causes. And it has hired two experienced reporters, Joe Strupp and Alexander Zaitchik, to dig into Fox’s operation to help assemble a book on the network, due out in 2012 from Vintage/Anchor. (In the interest of full disclosure, Media Matters last month also issued a report criticizing “Fox and Friends” co-host Steve Doocy’s criticism of this reporter’s blog.)
Brock said Media Matters also plans to run a broad campaign against Fox’s parent company, News Corp., an effort which most likely will involve opening a United Kingdom arm in London to attack the company’s interests there. The group hired an executive from MoveOn.org to work on developing campaigns among News Corp. shareholders and also is looking for ways to turn regulators in the U.S., U.K., and elsewhere against the network.
The group will “focus on [News Corp. CEO Rupert] Murdoch and trying to disrupt his commercial interests — whether that be here or looking at what’s going on in London right now,” Brock said, referring to News Corp.’s — apparently successful — move to take a majority stake in the satellite broadcaster BSkyB.
"We have to understand. We have other patriots who love our country who have other ideas about how to solve our problems… We’re patriots; they’re patriots too."
That was my friend Van Jones, speaking about the Tea Party at the Summit on Jobs and America’s Future in Washington last week (full disclosure: the conference was sponsored by the Campaign for America’s Future which I co-direct). His analysis of the Tea Party was insightful, generous, and focused on the debate on values and ideas that has to be waged across America. He disagreed with the Tea Party, but he did not disparage them.
Contrast that to the right-wing smear merchants that have gone into high gear to slime Van Jones. Jones has been a favorite target of Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart and many castigators on the right for over a year now. The most recent ad hominem slur from Breitbart was characteristically beyond the pale.
Van Jones is an extraordinary leader, so it isn’t surprising that the right has targeted him. They didn’t propagate the lies about Obama’s birth because he lost; they propagated them because he won big and had to be brought down. They didn’t target ACORN because it was ineffective; they targeted it because it was the most effective organization registering and getting out the vote of minorities that increasingly feel locked out of the Republican Party. They don’t target Planned Parenthood because it is extreme; they target it because it provides essential and popular family planning services that they bitterly oppose.
Like most progressives, I generally don’t listen to nor bother to respond to right-wing bile. But the campaign against Van Jones has been unrelenting and slanderous. Van is leading efforts to build a movement that will challenge the right, so the calumny will get worse. It is worth just once to set the record straight.
Van Jones is a father, a man of faith, an entrepreneur and innovator, author and life-long champion of the poor and disenfranchised. He graduated from Yale Law School, but he rose above it, to devote his life to making America better.
He has created three remarkable advocacy organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, a California-based group working for alternatives to violence; Color of Change, an on-line advocacy group for African Americans; and Green For All, to promote the creation of a clean energy economy to drive economic growth and battle poverty.
Leaders like Van see farther than most of us. Van was one of the first to understand the potential of the green industrial revolution, and the opportunity it posed for those communities that had been largely locked out of the last industrial revolution. He authored a best-selling book that helped put the term “Green-Jobs” on the map. He advocated for the first-ever piece of Green-Jobs legislation, the “Green Jobs Act of 2007, which was signed into law by none other than President George W Bush. He joined in building the Apollo Alliance and then created Green for All to champion this cause. He accepted a position in the Obama White House to help drive clean and green solutions to our economic problems.
For this, he was targeted by Fox and featured on Glenn Beck’s backboard. They propagated the smears and lies that continue to this day. Rather than let the administration be dragged into that muck, Van Jones took the high road, corrected the record, and moved on. He now holds a joint appointment at Princeton University, as a distinguished visiting fellow in both the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Van is also a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress and a senior policy advisor at Green For All.
Van Jones hasn’t let the right intimidate him. His electric presentations are helping to galvanize a movement to rebuild the American Dream. And the greater his leadership, the more the right recycles the slurs and lies, the more he ignores them, the more rabid they get. Breitbart illustrates the hysteria, labeling Van a “punk,” “human toxin,” and a ” cockroach” in the course of a brief interview.
But the right has perfected the art of the big lie, repeating a falsehood over and over until people begin to think there must be something to it. Three big lies are deployed regularly in their attempt to discredit Van Jones. They get recycled through the right wing sound machine. Seldom heard is the truth. So here is the truth.
Right-Wing Slur: Van is 9/11 Truther.
Truth: Van Jones believes and has stated repeatedly that the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our nation’s soil were planned and carried out by Osama bin Laden and members of Al Qaeda. He never saw, signed, or endorsed any statement indicating otherwise. Six years ago, a group claiming to represent 9/11 families asked for his support and then attached his name, without his knowledge or permission, to abhorrent language that they never showed him. The group has since admitted they do not have his signature.
Right-Wing Slur: Van is a “Communist.”
Truth: Van Jones is a leading champion of free market solutions and American innovation. His award-winning work is rooted in business-friendly, market-based ideas. His bestselling book, The Green-Collar Economy, argues that government should provide incentives for private sector innovation. Van has forged successful partnerships with green businesses and served on the board of a national business association. (And isn’t this slur beyond its expiration date? The Soviet Union is no more; the Cold War is over. Global corporations vie to gain a foothold in China still governed by so-called communists. Can’t we can the 50s calumnies now that we’re in a new century?)
Right-Wing Slur: Van Jones is an ex-convict.
Truth: Van Jones is a law-abiding citizen and has never been to prison or convicted of any crime. Van’s only scrape with the law was when he was wrongfully detained for four hours in a San Francisco warehouse where police held thousands of peaceful protesters in May 1992. A Yale Law student at the time, Van had attended the event as a legal monitor. In a lawsuit, he won monetary compensation for his false imprisonment.
Of course, refutation won’t stop the lies, just as the right will never stop questioning Obama’s citizenship.
But for those outside the circles of hate, understand the charges for what they are: A backhanded tribute to the past accomplishments and future potential of Van Jones as a leader and advocate for a better America.
On Thursday night, Fox News anchor Bret Baier was Jon Stewart’s guest on The Daily Show. The two men went back and forth about whether Fox is predominantly conservative opinion programming or straight news, with Baier contending that “viewers can discern between news and opinion,” and Stewart countering by noting that the opinion anchors and conservative columnists such as Charles Krauthammer appear on news shows.
Stewart suggested that Fox’s tendency to mislabel opinion as news is what differentiates the network from other, more traditional news sources. But that’s the least of it. The more important distinction is the conservative slant and essential inaccuracy of much of Fox’s news reporting itself. Stewart conceded Baier’s premise that because Fox has reporters stationed in Middle Eastern hot spots their reporting on world affairs is above reproach. It is not.
Take, for example, this video, also from Thursday, which shows multiple Fox News hosts gleefully announcing that health reform champion Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) wants his home city to seek a waiver from the Affordable Care Act, and that Weiner’s statements prove the law is too cumbersome. In fact, if you watch his comments in full, it is abundantly clear that Weiner is in no way suggesting that the law imposes too many burdens on localities. He simply praises the law’s flexibility and says that if localities can independently fulfill the same objectives of expanded coverage and reduced cost, then they should be alowed to do so.
This episode exposes two core problems with Fox’s supposedly “fair and balanced” news coverage. The first is the simple inaccuracy demonstrated by the blatant misrepresentation of Weiner’s position. The second is the bias of story selection. Why does a congressman from the minority party with no leadership position making a statement at a think thank event on a possible move by a locality warrant multiple news segments? Only because Fox can present it as a victory for conservative ideology. No unbiased observer could possibly have concluded that Weiner’s statements deserved repeated discussion in the midst of three foreign wars, instability throughout the Middle East, a nuclear accident in Japan, high unemployment, and major battles over the federal budget in Washington.
read more: The Real Problem with Fox News
Fox Business’ guest, Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips, states, “I think these teacher unions and others are showing what they are really all about,” as he explains why his organization bused in Tea Party protesters from around the country to Madison two Saturdays ago in support of Walker’s budget fix (NOTE: For those keeping score — Pro-union protesters: 68,000+ Tea Partiers: 2,000).
Over most of the past 20 years, public school teacher compensation in Wisconsin has been constrained by the Qualified Economic Offer, a law enacted to lower property taxes. Wisconsin teachers have seen their compensation slip from 15th in the nation to 23rd, the lowest ranking in 50 years. However, state leaders still say, “We can’t afford it.” How low does it have to go?
The controversy in Wisconsin is about money, but it isn’t about fixing the budget deficit. This is about breaking the back of labor unions. This is about vilifying and silencing public workers. This is about selling (privatizing) Wisconsin.
Over the past 30 years, our political leaders have bemoaned our crumbling education system. From “A Nation at Risk” to recent International comparisons, we hear the constant drum beat that our education system isn’t up to snuff. We need to do better. We need higher standards, more tests, and punishments for failing schools. Our political leaders state that we need to recruit the best teachers and compensate them well. But, of course, we need to do it without money. We can’t afford it.
We can afford tax breaks for the wealthiest, corporate loopholes and incentives and "open for business" signs at the Wisconsin border, but we can’t afford public services, including well-funded schools.