Browsing the archives for the Fox news tag.

Annals of Fox News reporting, Rahmbo edition

Media / journalism, Politics, US Politics

Many of the Americans among you, I suspect, will have heard of the telling incident┬áthis week in which Fox News aired a news item on the stimulus bill which repeated, word for word, the points in a press release from the Senate Republicans. Without ever mentioning that the analysis they were presenting came straight from Republican officials, of course. “It was so blatant,” Steve Benen notes, “Fox News’ on-screen graphic included the identical typo made in the original GOP document, making it obvious that the network used a party press release as a news script”.

But bias isn’t usually as jaw-droppingly stupid or outrageous. Subtle still isn’t quite the right word, but try this on: Some Critics Blame Emanuel for Obama’s Cabinet Troubles. I clicked the headline because, well, I don’t like Emanuel, so I’m in principle well-disposed to believing the diagnosis, even if it does come from Fox. (The HuPo, for example – admittedly not the most reliable source either – last week had a disturbing take on the stimulus negotiations, which alleged that Rahm had undermined Congressional Democrats and Nancy Pelosi in order to curry favour from moderate Republicans and deflect criticism of Obama.)

Alas. The Fox headline referred “some critics”. The opening sentence read, “President Obama’s latest Cabinet setback [..] has put the White House on the defensive, particularly Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, whom some critics blame for cracks in the vetting process.” So what inside sources had Fox News found dishing the dirt on Rahmbo? Who was blaming Emanuel, and what did they have to share about his role in these vetting mess-ups?

Um, well … “some critics” turns out to refer to exactly one person. And that person turns out to be “Kurt Bardella, a spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.” That’s it. The only person they got to blame Rahm was the spokesperson to a lowly Republican Congressman, who himself is a bit of a crackpot.

The whole story, in fact, quotes just two sources. One is, unsurprisingly, Democratic consultant Doug Schoen, the kind of Democrat Republicans love; but even he refused to play ball, saying that “it’s hard to defend or attack Emanuel without knowing how involved he’s been in the vetting process,” and that it “doesn’t strike me as fair or appropriate [..] to put it all on Rahm”. The other’s Bardella.

He gets no less than six paras, though.

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Live by the bubble, die by the bubble

Media / journalism, Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics

“The rise of the conservative media,” Isaac Chotiner notes at The Plank, “has obviously done the right a tremendous amount of good over the past generation.” Which is true of course. Through talk radio, Fox and its part of the blogosphere, the right aggressively staked out an expanding media territory devoted to its message. These media have honed a visceral appeal to people’s resentment and their lust for a good fight, which has allowed them to suck ever more people in and then ensure that they have always absorbed the talking points of the day. This has made for an aggressive fighting force, which could easily power its way to 50%+1 election victories.

But the fighting force remains a minority nevertheless, and there’s the rub this year.

(Image used under CC license from Flickr user DClemm)

(Image used under CC license from Flickr user DClemm)

There’s a large swathe of voters in the middle which cares little about liberal agendas (or politics at all for that matter), but would be too put off by all the shouting to listen to talk radio. They can be swayed into assent by those who do, however, if an overarching narrative like the War on Terror in 2004 or “bringing values back to Washington” in 2000 is:
a) brought forcefully enough;
b) based on immediate, high-profile events (9/11, Monica);
c) reasonably feasible; and
d) if there’s little effective counterpush.

They nevertheless remain distinctly un-sucked into the more immediate vortex of talking points inside the conservative media territory. They didn’t care about Vince Foster or Bill Clinton having once taken a hit on a joint. They dont fret over liberal indoctrination at universities – they just want their kids to go to a good school. Even the outrage over Monica Lewinsky was long a hard sell to this middle – just look at Bill’s consistently high approval rates.

Check in with the rightwing media now, however, and that’s all they have: a collection of narrow talking points with little relevance to life outside politics. They’re trapped inside the bubble, Chotiner says:

“Read the right’s blogs, listen to FOX News, turn on talk radio–all you hear (even right now, after the debate) is Ayers, ACORN, Reid, Pelosi, Barney Frank, and Chris Dodd (the last two being, duh, the sole villains behind our economic crisis). It’s as if the conservative movement has found itself mouthing talking points that no one outside of the bubble could possibly care about. Maybe it’s always like this when a political party faces an electoral catastrophe, but it sure is noticeable right now.”

The monocultural discipline which the conservative media territory offered made for a relentlessly on-message electoral fighting force in 2000 and 2004. Bolstered by Fox and talk radio on the airwaves, the movement conservatives were able to monopolise the party and push out moderates and independent thinkers, in a way MoveOn and the lefty blogosphere never succeeded in doing with the Democratic Party.

(Image used under CC license from Flickr user Chuckumentary)

(Image used under CC license from Flickr user Chuckumentary)

But the same monoculturalism now makes for a movement that’s largely unable to look at itself from the outside. They realise their message isnt resonating, but can’t understand whyever not. It’s living inside the bubble that made them such a cohesive machine. But it’s living in the same bubble that makes them unable to correct themselves and adapt now. All that’s left is anger and frustration.

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Now we’re going back more than a year to find Biden gaffes?

Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics

This is the kind of thing that would usually take the form of writing an email — but now we have a blog!

Joe Biden is usually gaffe-tastic enough that it’s telling that Fox would need to go back more than a year to find ammo:

When Hillary Clinton told a tall tale about “landing under sniper fire” in Bosnia, she was accused of “inflating her war experience” by rival Democrat Barack Obama’s campaign.

But the campaign has been silent about Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, telling his own questionable story about being “shot at” in Iraq.

“Let’s start telling the truth,” Biden said during a presidential primary debate sponsored by YouTube last year. “Number one, you take all the troops out – you better have helicopters ready to take those 3,000 civilians inside the Green Zone, where I have been seven times and shot at. You better make sure you have protection for them, or let them die.”

So, when was that presidential primary debate? July 23rd, 2007.

Yet Andrew Sullivan says today:

Biden Was “Shot At” In Iraq?

30 Sep 2008 01:26 pm

No he wasn’t. He really needs to stop running his mouth off. It’s my big worry about Thursday night. If anyone can rescue the Palin farce, it’s Biden’s dumb-ass logorrhea.

Check the dates, Andrew!

Note, I worry just as much that Palin will get a Biden gaffe-gift in the debate. But I think that part of why Obama chose him was that Biden showed that he could be disciplined if he tries, and he’s done pretty well since he was selected. A few small ones, no biggies. Yet.

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