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How Fox News and the right wing smears opponents

"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.

read more: Robert L. Borosage: Van Jones: The Right’s Tribute

Filed under Fox Van Jones

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The Real Problem with Fox News “conservative slant and essential inaccuracy” Columbia Journalism Review

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

Filed under Fox P2

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How to Buy Elections: Fox+Tea Party+AmericansForProsperity+CrossroadGPS=GOP

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.

Read more: Eric Brunsell: Scott Walker is Trying to Sell Wisconsin

Filed under FOX

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Glenn Beck’s syndicator runs a astroturf-on-demand call-in service for radio programs

Premiere On Call, a division of the Clear Channel subsidiary that distributes Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, is a service that hires actors to call into radio shows and read a script that purports to be a true story presented by the public. They bind their actors to confidentiality agreements, and disavow any involvement in fraud, saying “Premiere, like many other content providers, facilitates casting—while character and script development, and how the talent’s contribution is integrated into programs, are handled by the varied stations.”

The actors hired by Premiere to provide the aforementioned voice talents sign confidentiality agreements and so would not go on the record. But their accounts leave little room for doubt. All of the actors I questioned reported receiving scripts, calling in to real shows, pretending to be real people. Frequently, one actor said, the calls were live, sometimes recorded in advance, but never presented on-air as anything but real.

Michael Harrison, the editor of Talkers Magazine, the talk-radio world’s leading trade publication, said he knew nothing of this particular service but was not altogether surprised to hear that it was in place. There was, he said, a tradition of “creating fake phone calls for the sake of entertainment on some of the funny shows, shock jocks shows, the kind of shows you hear on FM music stations in the morning, they would regularly have scenarios, crazy scenarios of people calling up and doing pranks.”

Glenn Beck’s syndicator runs a astroturf-on-demand call-in service for radio programs - Boing Boing

Filed under Fox Glenn Beck

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Video: Photographer Slams Fox News’ Distortion Of His WI Protest Footage

As Media Matters noted on March 3, 2011, Fox News used footage shot by a local Wisconsin photographer to falsely label Wisconsin union protesters as “violent.” The video showed protesters confronting Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman as he attempted to enter the Wisconsin capitol building. Although the video clearly showed no violence being committed and in fact, the protesters breaking into chants of “peace” and “peaceful,” Fox falsely depicted the crowd as “violent protesters” and an “angry union mob”  who “ambush[ed]” Grothman.

In a statement to Media Matters, Phil Ejercito — the photographer who shot the video — responded, slamming Fox News’ distortion of his material:

It sickens me to see the truth so willfully distorted. In deciding to release this video, I considered how it would be used, but I (perhaps naively) believed that the facts in the video would speak for itself - the people of Wisconsin are angry, Senator Grothman got a well-deserved ribbing, the Walker administration’s lockdown of the Capitol is misguided, and Representative Hulsey acted honorably. It is simply astounding that the same faction of the right-wing that would claim that torture in Abu Ghraib was “fraternity hazing” would equate heckling as a “violent attack.”

I have been covering these protests 24/7 from the outset, with no legal team or anything to guide me other than a dedication to truth and the people of Wisconsin. I believe I represent a growing grey area between citizen journalism and professional journalism. While I pride myself on the experience and professionalism with which I approach my job, I will admit to being somewhat starry-eyed upon dealing with national media. I initially refused to license my footage to Fox News, politely citing “qualms about the quality of Fox’s reporting from here in Madison.” Only upon receiving assurances that both Sen. Grothman and Rep. Hulsey would be available to provide context did I acquiesce.

Let there be no ambiguity: I condemn the use of my work to distort the truth about the spirited but non-violent protests here in Madison. I believe that this is a genuinely dangerous narrative that Fox News is helping to create. Prior to Gov. Walker’s Feb. 11 unveiling of his budget repair bill, the last time a Wisconsin governor invoked the National Guard in response to labor, seven demonstrators were shot dead in front of the Bay View Rolling Mill. I am deeply disturbed to consider that my work is being misused to establish a fictional narrative of violence by the working families of Wisconsin, and I encourage people to watch the entire clip on YouTube for themselves to understand the full context and decide for themselves what truthfully took place.

read more: EXCLUSIVE: Photographer Slams Fox News’ Distortion Of His WI Protest Footage | Media Matters for America

Filed under WIunion Fox

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Fox News reporter appears to have lied about being ‘punched’ by protester

Mike Tobin’s dishonesty, a virtue at Fox News, would get him fired at a bona fide news organization.

Fox News has been making a lot of hay about one of their reporters allegedly being “punched” by a protester in Madison, Wisconsin.

Turns out, that didn’t happen.

Mike Tobin, reporting from amid the massive demonstration on Friday, claimed that one of the protesters “punched” him in the arm. In another broadcast, he claimed a man threatened to break his neck.

In both cases, supporting evidence for these claims was not broadcast — yet still, Tobin’s reports have been widely cited across conservative blogs that seem eager to depict union workers as hateful and violent.

What’s worse, Tobin’s allegation that he was assaulted might have slipped past without rebuttal were it not for a camera-equipped bystander, who captured the scene.

Turns out, someone merely touched his shoulder, as evidenced in the video below. The incident he claimed was a “punch” could instead be described as a pat, at most.

That was apparently enough for him to later declare that even after being “punched, he was just too nice of a guy to press charges.

Fox News reporters have been repeatedly shouted down by union protesters, many of whom simply chant “Fox News lies!” every time the network’s cameras set up for a live shot.

That repeated reaction led Tobin to complain how there was “hate in their eyes” during the confrontations, leading him to assume that protesters must simply hate reporters and the media in general, or that they’re intolerant of alternative viewpoints.

read more; watch video : fox-news-reporter-appears-to-have-lied-about-being-punched-by-protester from… - StumbleUpon

Filed under Fox Mike Tobin

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It is fake news. Canada has a law that you can’t lie on the news and because of that Fox can’t broadcast news in Canada.  I’m not kidding. Really.

It is fake news. Canada has a law that you can’t lie on the news and because of that Fox can’t broadcast news in Canada.  I’m not kidding. Really.

Filed under Fox

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Fox News Will Not Be Moving Into Canada After All ~

By Robert F. Kennedy Jr. President, Waterkeeper Alliance; Professor, Pace University

As America’s middle class battles for its survival on the Wisconsin barricades — against various Koch Oil surrogates and the corporate toadies at Fox News — fans of enlightenment, democracy and justice can take comfort from a significant victory north of Wisconsin border. Fox News will not be moving into Canada after all! The reason: Canada regulators today announced they would reject efforts by Canada’s right wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to repeal a law that forbids lying on broadcast news.

Canada’s Radio Act
requires that “a licenser may not broadcast….any false or misleading news.” The provision has kept Fox News and right wing talk radio out of Canada and helped make Canada a model for liberal democracy and freedom. As a result of that law, Canadians enjoy high quality news coverage including the kind of foreign affairs and investigative journalism that flourished in this country before Ronald Reagan abolished the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1988. Political dialogue in Canada is marked by civility, modesty, honesty, collegiality, and idealism that have pretty much disappeared on the U.S. airwaves. When Stephen Harper moved to abolish anti-lying provision of the Radio Act, Canadians rose up to oppose him fearing that their tradition of honest non partisan news would be replaced by the toxic, overtly partisan, biased and dishonest news coverage familiar to American citizens who listen to Fox News and talk radio. Harper’s proposal was timed to facilitate the launch of a new right wing network, “Sun TV News” which Canadians call “Fox News North.” read more

Filed under Fox Canada

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Video: Fox News Lies: GOP Operative Presented as Angry Wisconsin Parent


One thing we’ve seen since the outbreak of protests following Governor Scott Walker’s proposed dismantling of union workers rights, is an American public waking up to the fact that Fox News is not really a news channel so much as an overt propaganda channel for the Republican Party, nothing more, and it’s starting to become painfully obvious, as protesters around the country confront Fox News reporters and Fox News adherents. Finally, it feels as if their shell of impenetrability is cracking, and a lot of that is due to people and organizations who risk damaging their precious brain matter to police the channel.

Media Matters is one of those organizations, and in their latest example of highlighting Fox News’ shameless demagoguery and toeing the line for their Republican taskmasters, they present Exhibit A: an interview Fox’s morning show, Fox & Friends, conducted with a concerned “parent” in Wisconsin. It’s true she’s a parent, and she may have valid concerns, but what Fox News doesn’t say is that she’s a local Republican official. Amber Hahn, who was the woman interviewed by Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade, is listed as the 2009-2010 treasurer – the money gal, no less – for the Republican Party of Columbia County, Wisconsin.

Fox News used the “interview” to plant the idea that teaching the history of unions in Wisconsin schools is “pro-union propaganda,” or “pushing a union agenda.” I have to admit, they’re pros at this kind of hackery, and their viewers lap it up ad nauseam.

read more and watch video: Fox News Lies: GOP Operative Presented as Angry Wisconsin Parent (VIDEO) | Veracity Stew

Filed under Fox

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Fox News: “Hate in [their] eyes” #wiunion #p2 #tcot .@FCC .@Comcast

#WIUnion Fox News reporter says “You can see the hate in [protesters’] eyes,” and then wonders why they’re calling him a liar.

illusory_tenant illusory tenant

Mon, Feb 28, 3:15pm

Consider this a formal complaint that Fox News does a disservice to the American public when it abuses its license to broadcast in the public interest by spreading disinformation in service of it’s political, propagandist  agenda.

Filed under Fox

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Union-Bashing @FoxNews Media Stars Hannity, O’Reilly and Limbaugh Are AFL-CIO Union-Affiliated Members #WIunion #tcot #teaparty

When it comes to the Wisconsin union fights, right-wing pundits Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh have a couple of things in common. For starters, have all voiced their opposition to the plight of public employee unions in the state.

On Feb. 18, Limbaugh said on his radio program, “We are either on the side of the Wisconsin protesters or we are on the side of our country.” Hannity has featured several guests critical of the union and its supporters, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, on his Fox News television and radio shows.

On the Feb. 18 edition of “The O’Reilly Factor,” O’Reilly stated, “Governments can’t afford to operate” because of “union wages and benefits.”  But it turns out that opposing workers’ rights isn’t the only thing these blowhards have in common.

As it turns out, all three of them belong to the American Federation Television and Radio Artists union (AFTRA), which is the AFL-CIO affiliate for television and broadcast workers.

Yes, you read that right. While Hannity, O’Reilly and Limbaugh have been railing against union workers in Wisconsin, all three of them belong to an AFL-CIO affiliate union.

A report voted to the front page of Reddit Friday claimed that Hannity, Limbaugh and O’Reilly were union members, as well as Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter. Right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin called it the “stupid lie of the week,” insisting that neither she nor the “other Fox News personalities being accused of ‘hypocrisy’ belong to the union.” As one might expect, Malkin didn’t know what she was talking about and the liberals were right (she herself, as just a frequent guest on the network, is not a member of the union).

A representative from Beck’s camp denied the claim, but a source within AFTRA confirmed to AlterNet Friday that O’Reilly, Limbaugh and Hannity were indeed union members.

When asked, AFTRA reps wouldn’t state whether the three were members, but it did say in an official statement (see the entire statement below):

"[N]otwithstanding the union’s publicly stated position on a given issue, including the attack on public sector union members currently unfolding in Wisconsin and elsewhere around the nation AFTRA fully supports the First Amendment right to free speech of all Americans, including that of any AFTRA member who wishes to express an opinion that may differ from that of AFTRA."

read more: Union-Bashing Right-Wing Media Stars Hannity, Limbaugh and O’Reilly Are AFL-CIO Union-Affiliated Members

Filed under Fox hypocrites