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“Mum’s The Word From The Professional Bloviators”: Fox Newsers Suddenly Quiet When Their ‘Hero Cop’ Revealed To Be Fraudster

It was a narrative perfectly suited for Fox News’s conservative commentariat. Too bad it was total bullshit.

Three assailants allegedly shot and killed Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, a wholesome small-town cop and Army vet known locally as “GI Joe”; a 30-year veteran of the force; a married father of four; a local hero.

His death had to be part of an ominous trend of societal menaces murdering law officers in cold blood, supposedly fueled by President Obama’s “anti-cop” rhetoric and the Black Lives Matter movement. Several Fox Newsers were quick to make that connection just as Fox Lake, Illinois, police set out to find the three perpetrators Gliniewicz mentioned over the radio just before he died.

While the news of GI Joe’s death broke nationwide on Tuesday, Sept. 1, Fox’s resident quack doctor Keith Ablow sat on the set of the network’s Outnumbered show and lamented how the president has “inflamed racial discord in this country and put a target on the backs of American police officers,” using the recent murder of a Texas deputy at a gas station as a jumping-off point.

“This is not the only incident of this,” conservative firebrand Andrea Tantaros interrupted, teeing up co-host Sandra Smith to introduce the Fox Lake incident. “This is happening time and time again,” Fox & Friends First’s Ainsley Earhardt chimed in. “This is a dangerous place for the country to be,” Liz MacDonald fretted before Tantaros pivoted back to the role of Black Lives Matter rhetoric in cop slayings.

Hours later, primetime star anchor Megyn Kelly interviewed Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke—an all-too-frequent Fox guest who seems to spend more time bashing black activists on TV than actually, you know… sheriffing. Clarke willfully linked Gliniewicz’s death to how President Obama has “breathed life into this anti-cop sentiment” with his “inflammatory rhetoric.”

That same evening, a cocksure Clarke told Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs that he has been to Fox Lake and knows that Gliniewicz is one of the town’s “finest,” gunned down while “engaged in self-initiative policing, the best policing there is.” He added: “War has been declared on the American police officer.” On Twitter, the lawman continued: “Time to take to the streets to counter Black LIES Matter. Fox Lake, Illinois.”

And on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 5, Eric Bolling used his weekly Cashin’ In monologue (titled “Wake Up, America!”) to connect Gliniewicz being “blown away in cold blood” to a “crisis” of law enforcement officers being killed, in part because President Obama has failed to publicly state that “Blue Lives Matter.”

Flash-forward to this Wednesday when Fox Lake police officials revealed that Gliniewicz’s death was actually a “carefully staged suicide.” As it turns out, the longtime lieutenant had been laundering thousands of dollars from his department’s youth program for his own personal spending on gym memberships, porn websites, and mortgage payments. There were no assailants; GI Joe shot himself rather than face the consequences.

Have any of these Fox pundits corrected the record or issued mea culpas for their rush to connect this twisted story to their political narrative? Wednesday’s edition of Outnumbered, with Tantaros among its hosts, went without a single mention of the news their own network aired just an hour before. (The show did, however, spend an entire segment bashing film director Quentin Tarantino for his remarks against police brutality.)

As for Sheriff Clarke, he spent all day Wednesday tweeting not about “best policing” Gliniewicz’s complete betrayal of his peers, but instead about, yep, “cop-hating” “prick” Quentin Tarantino.

And Eric Bolling? His daily talk show The Five—which frequently gripes about Black Lives Matter—made no mention of Gliniewicz. Don’t hold your breath for a correct-the-record monologue from him this Saturday either.

Of course, it should be noted that Fox’s straight-news reporters—namely Mike Tobin, Shepard Smith, Happening Now, and the network’s cut-in anchors—reported the story, from the start, as a continuing investigation, without tying it to racial tensions or anti-police violence. The way it should be done.

And when they reported the story’s bizarre developments on Wednesday morning, they did so with entirely straight language. But mum’s the word from the professional bloviators.

 

By: Andrew Kirell, The Daily Beast, November 5, 2015

November 7, 2015 Posted by | Black Lives Matter, Fox News, Law Enforcement | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Guns, Race, And Fox News’ Pathological Denial”: Conservative Media Desperately Searching For Political Cover

Like frantic shoppers running down a last-minute list, Fox News talkers last week desperately tried to cobble together an inventory of reasons why racist gunman Dylann Roof may not have been primarily motivated by racism.

As the conservative media anxiously and collectively searched for political cover, Fox News hosts and guests offered up an array of illogical explanations: Maybe the Charleston, S.C. church killing was an attack on Christians. Maybe it was an attack on South Carolina. Maybe political correctness was to blame. Or “diversity.” Maybe pastors should be armed. (In any case, Fox Newsers agreed, President Obama was being very, very “divisive” regarding the matter.)

On and on, the alternative explanations were offered up in the face of overwhelming evidence that Roof allegedly had set out to kill as many black people as possible because he wanted to start a “race war.” Period. And the way Roof allegedly chose to do that was to open fire, and then reload, in the basement of the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, killing the pastor and eight parishioners.

Like so many Americans, Fox News has been reeling in the wake of the massacre, except reeling in a different way. While Americans recoiled from the raw hate behind the gun rampage, Fox News wrestled with bouts of pathological denial.

Indeed, for Fox News and much of the conservative media, the horrific killings in South Carolina represented a political challenge because the act of mass murder revolved around two topics Fox News has long insisted don’t really afflict America, or don’t require pressing action: Racism and gun violence. That denial has made it nearly impossible for Fox to address the shooting in any coherent way.

For years, Fox News and conservatives have routinely tried to underplay gun violence and even horrific bouts of mass murders — like the Sandy Hook school massacre — insisting the issue represents a “distraction” or a “red herring” touted by liberals to shift the nation’s attention away from truly pressing problems, like the national debt.

But the “distraction” spin is absurd. As Chuck Todd noted on Meet The Press, “50 Americans since 9/11 have been killed in terrorist attacks. We’re up to nearly 400,000 people since 9/11 have been killed by firearms.”

Meanwhile, if current projections hold, for the first time modern American history more people will die in 2015 from gun violence than from automobile accidents. Roughly 20,000 Americans kill themselves each year using firearms. And as Bloomberg News reported, the financial cost of U.S. gun violence in terms of lost work, medical care, insurance, court costs and pain and suffering amounted to nearly $175 billion in 2010.

Despite the avalanche of data, Fox News has led the charge to dismiss the importance of addressing gun safety, and has been especially ruthless in attacking advocates trying to pass new legislation. That hardened political opposition helps explain why the cable channel has been desperately searching for ways to explain away the shocking South Carolina mass murder.

Fox and conservatives have been even more adamant over the years in insisting that Democrats, liberals and minorities over-hype the issue of racism. For instance, on his Forbes.com blog, Peter Ferrara of the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based conservative think tank, reported in 2013 that “racist attitudes” no longer “have any power or influence in American society.” Indeed, The Wall Street Journal editorial page last week casually announced that institutionalized racism no longer exists.

Racism, like climate change, is denied as part of the larger conservative political reality.

Like Prohibition and the Wild West, racism apparently represents a distant chapter in America’s past and is now filed under “archaeology,” as Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin dismissively put it last year while attacking Obama for addressing the issue at all. (Rubin claimed Americans are “held prisoners forever in a past that most Americans have never personally experienced.”)

Why the rising chorus of racism deniers under Obama? It fits a larger, right-wing political agenda. “Some on the right are deeply invested in the idea that anti-black racism is no longer much of a problem in the United States, and certainly not a problem on the scale of false accusations of racism,” wrote Michelle Goldberg at the Daily Beast.

Added Zack Beauchamp at Vox last week: “basically, the fact that America’s got a Democratic, black president means Republicans have grown more skeptical that structural racism is a huge, enduring problem.” The result? “It’s very difficult for Republicans to talk about racism as a serious, enduring problem without alienating a real part of the base.”

The same, of course, goes for Fox News and not wanting to alienate its loyal viewership base. And so in recent years we’ve heard Bill O’Reilly announce, “We are not a racist nation. […] Fair-minded Americans should be deeply offended, deeply offended that their country is being smeared with the bigotry brush.” Steve Doocy declared, “I don’t know that Barack Obama could have been elected president if he was living in a racist nation.”

And there was this from Fox’s Eric Bolling [emphasis added]:

It’s getting tiring. We have a black president, we have black senators, we have black heads of captains of business, companies. We have black entertainment channels. Where — is there racism? I don’t think there’s racism. The only people perpetuating racism are people like this gentleman from the NAACP, are the Al Sharptons of the world. Let’s move on. Let’s move on.

Let’s move on? Tell that to the people of Charleston.

 

By: Eric Boehlert, Sr. Fellow, Media Matters for America; The Blog, The Huffington Post, June 22, 2015

June 23, 2015 Posted by | Fox News, Gun Violence, Racism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Fox News Apology Tour”: It’s Interesting To Observe What They Are And Aren’t Sorry About

What a week for Fox News! The “fair and balanced” network was transformed into the “I’m totally sorry” network after we were treated to four—yes, four—on-air apologies from different Fox personalities.

First, we had “The Five’s” Greg Gutfeld and Eric Bolling mock a female air force pilot with some really sexist jokes. Now, they probably thought no one would care because she’s Arab. But luckily it seems that the outrage against sexism applies to women of all ethnicities and races.

Bolling and Gutfeld’s comments came during a discussion of the United Arab Emirate’s Major Mariam Al Mansouri, who flew missions as part of the United States-led coalition bombing ISIS. Al Mansouri might be heralded in the UAE for being the nation’s first female fighter, but to the comedy duo of Bolling and Gutfeld, she’s just a punch line.

Gutfeld quipped:  “After she bombed it, she couldn’t park it.” (Referring to her plane.) And then Bolling, whom I often find funny although he’s trying to be serious, tried to top Gutfeld with the crack: “Would that be considered boobs on the ground or no?”

The backlash was swift.  Even some of these two frat boys’ colleagues were upset. And then it built as Americans who had served in the military voiced their objections.

The result was Gutfeld and Bolling offered what appear to be sincere apologies. In fact, Bolling offered two different ones on air, so he singlehandily represents 50 percent of the Fox News apologies for the week.

And then we have a comment that comes under the category of not trying to be funny but trying to see how much red meat you can offer viewers. Last Saturday, Fox News regular guest Jonathan Hoenig commented in essence that the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was a good thing for America with his boastful statement: “The last war this country won, we put Japanese Americans in internment camps.”

Why would that even come up, you ask? Because the four panelists—anchored by King of Comedy Eric Bolling—were talking about how law enforcement must absolutely, positively profile Muslim Americans. During their discussion regaling the joys of profiling a minority group, Bolling offered a comment that truly showcased his talent for nuance: “We know how to find the terrorists among us: profile, profile, profile.”

Hoenig, apparently wanting to continue being booked on Fox News, felt the need to up the anti-Muslim ante. Picking up where Bolling left off, Hoenig remarked, “but aren’t all Muslims suspect…given the history of Islamic threats towards this country?” That’s when Hoenig touted the upside of interning Japanese Americans, with his point apparently being it’s a possible model to follow today with Muslim Americans.

Cue another backlash. This time it was led by civil rights groups and even members of Congress like Rep. Mike Honda of California, who as a child had been held in an internment camp. Over the weekend Hoenig went on Fox News and offered an apology for his remark that interning Japanese Americans was something we should be proud of.

Look, we all make mistakes—not only in real life but also on TV. In fact, I have made jokes/comments on television and on Twitter that have landed me in hot water. Consequently, I have apologized on more than one occasion for my own idiotic remarks.

But Fox always manages to push the boundaries and make things just a little surreal. So it was that in the same week these Fox “journalists” were dishing out a bevy of apologies, several different Fox shows slammed President Obama for what they dubbed his “apology tour” after his speech Wednesday at the United Nations.

Even apologist Greg Gutfeld slammed this so-called apology tour. You see, the Fox News peeps were upset that Obama would go before the United Nations and mention the protests that had taken place in Ferguson, Missouri. Apparently the geniuses at Fox believe that the world leaders have no idea that we have racial problems in the United States.

But pointing out hypocrisy at Fox News is like pointing out gaffes by Sarah Palin. Too easy. Of course, Fox News could have just stuck to its guns and not apologized. Bolling could have simply gone on air and exclaimed, “Hey, we are Fox Fucking News, we don’t apologize for shit!” Ratings would have shot to the heavens.

However, what I find more interesting than the Fox News apologies is the recent comments made by Fox News personalities that they would not apologize for.

First, there was the now well-known and awful remark a few weeks ago by Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade after viewing the video of Ray Rice in the elevator punching his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in the face. Kilmeade responded to the horrific image with the joke: “I think the message is, take the stairs.”

While Kilmeade walked back the comment the next day after an uproar, he did not apologize. Instead, he said, “Some people feel like we were taking this situation too lightly. We are not.” No, you did—you told a joke about it. That’s the very definition of taking something lightly!

And the second remark came during the Japanese internment conversation. While Hoenig apologized for seeing the upside to internment, no one thought it was important to apologize for advocating that we should tear up the U.S. Constitution and treat American Muslims differently simply because of our faith.

Not that I expected a Fox News anchor to apologize for that comment—after all, this is the same network that not only trashes Muslims almost daily, it gives the nation’s biggest anti-Muslim bigots a platform to spew hate.

So what have we learned? Fox News is a special, almost magical place. It’s a world where jokes about sexism are apologized for but ones about domestic violence are not. It’s a place where minorities are degraded and maligned for fun.  And it’s the highest-rated cable news channel in the nation.

 

By: Dean Obeidalla, The Daily Beast, October 1, 2014

October 2, 2014 Posted by | Bigotry, Fox News, Racism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Right’s Ugly Food-Stamp Obsession Is Back!”: Why Lying Dog-Whistle Politics Returned

“Welcome to Obama’s America,” Fox’s Eric Bolling told his audience Tuesday – a dystopia where people now use food stamps to patronize “strip clubs, liquor stores, pot dispensaries.” Following up on its rubbishy August 2013 faux-exposé “The Great Food Stamp Binge,” Fox again profiled “surfing freeloader” Jason Greenslate, who is allegedly “livin’ large” in San Diego, thanks to the SNAP program, commonly known as food stamps. After Bill O’Reilly’s errand boy Jesse Watters caught up with Greenslate again Monday night, “The Five” used the lazy surfer as “the representative of literally millions of Americans,” in Bolling’s words. It was epic.

“He’s playing the system, he’s stretching the rules to their limits,” Bolling told Fox’s angry, fearful, mostly elderly viewers. “But what would you expect with a $105 billion program that’s almost tripled under Obamanomics? That’s what you would expect, right there, take a look at it. But what’s next? Strip clubs, liquor stores, pot dispensaries? Oh, that’s already going on, folks. Welcome to Obama’s America.”

Bolling’s rant came a day after Dick Cheney visited Fox and attacked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s military cuts, telling Sean Hannity, bizarrely, that Obama “would much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”

The right just can’t leave that old dog-whistle alone. It’s 2012 all over again – Newt Gingrich will be reviving his claim that Obama’s “the food stamp president” any minute now. In “Obama’s America,” the right is determined to make the president the tribune of a moocher-rewarding, ever-expanding welfare state, even if they have to lie to do so.

Of course in Obama’s America (and everyone else’s) SNAP regulations prohibit buying alcohol or tobacco with food stamps, let alone drugs, and they can’t be used at restaurants or bars, let alone strip clubs. But Bolling wants Fox viewers in a perpetual state of moral panic, and the notion that slackers like Greenslate are “livin’ large” – Fox’s term — on the public dime just works, the facts be damned.

Cheney’s rant was in some ways more offensive. Charging that the cuts proposed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are “really devastating,” Cheney went on: “It does enormous long-term damage to our military. They act as though it is like highway spending and you can turn it on and off. The fact of the matter is he is having a huge impact on the ability of future presidents to deal with future crises that are bound to arise.”

Of course, as Think Progress noted back when Cheney began lobbying against defense cuts in 2012, the former vice president himself presided over a 25 percent cut to the defense budget back when he was defense secretary under George H.W. Bush. The fighting force was reduced by 500,000 active-duty soldiers, a move that was blessed by Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Colin Powell.

That was then. These cuts are the work of Obama’s team. So not only must they be attacked as dangerous, they’ve got to be framed as something the corrupt Chicago “gangster” is doing to reward his coalition of slackers, moochers and lazy white surfers.

Now, maybe it’s progress that Fox is making a white surfer the poster boy for food stamp abuse – but it’s the link to “Obama’s America” that updates Reagan’s old imagery about Cadillac-driving welfare queens and “young bucks” using food stamps to buy “T-bone steaks.”

In fact only 1 percent of SNAP funds are wasted in fraud. Three-quarters of SNAP households include an elderly or disabled person or a child, and fully 42 percent of adult recipients are also working, but making too little to feed themselves and their families. Among the nation’s food stamp recipients are almost a million military veterans, who were slurred by Cheney, and thousands of active duty military too. Military families spent $100 million in food stamp funds at military grocery stores in 2013.

Fox and Cheney don’t want you to think about the veteran or the soldier or the single mother or the disabled senior on food stamps. They don’t want Fox viewers to ask why 42 percent of recipients make such low wages that they qualify for food assistance, or why so many veterans and even active-duty soldiers need help. To distract from an economy that’s increasingly hoarding rewards at the top, they point to a cartoonish moocher and blame Obama.

 

By: Joan Walsh, Editor at Large, Salon, February 26, 2014

 

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Fox News, SNAP | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The “Other Than 9/11 Argument”: How Not To Rehabilitate A Failed President

A confluence of events appears to have created a curious new talking point on the right. With former President George W. Bush’s library set to open, and last week’s Boston Marathon bombing still very much on the public’s mind, Republican pundits see value in trying to tie the two together in the hopes of improving Bush’s reputation.

The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin, for example, published this gem yesterday:

“Unlike Obama’s tenure, there was no successful attack on the homeland after 9/11.”

A few hours later on Fox News, Eric Bolling echoed the sentiment.

“I will tell one thing, from you 9/12/01 until the time President Obama raised his right hand January of ’09, the man kept us safe. And there — you certainly can’t say that since President Obama has taken the oath of office.”

When it comes to Bolling, I should note that this is an improvement from his previous stance. Two years ago, he suggested on the air that he didn’t recall 9/11 at all: “America was certainly safe between 2000 and 2008. I don’t remember any terrorist attacks on American soil during that period of time.”

I should also note that neither Rubin nor Bolling seemed to be kidding. Their comments weren’t satirical or jokes intended to make Republicans appear silly.

As for the substance, there are three main angles to keep in mind. The first is the bizarre assertion that President Obama somehow deserves the blame for the bomb that killed three people in Boston last week, because he didn’t “keep us safe.” The argument reflects a child-like understanding of national security and is absurd on its face.

Second, though the right likes to pretend otherwise, there were terrorist attacks during Bush/Cheney’s tenure — after 9/11 — that shouldn’t be ignored. Indeed, it’s a little tiresome to hear Republicans argue in effect, “Other than the deadly anthrax attacks, the attack against El Al ticket counter at LAX, the terrorist attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush’s inability to capture those responsible for 9/11, waging an unnecessary war that inspired more terrorists, and the success terrorists had in exploiting Bush’s international unpopularity, the former president’s record on counter-terrorism was awesome.”

And finally, I’m not sure Republican pundits have fully thought through the wisdom of the “other than 9/11” argument.

Bush received an intelligence briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, at which he was handed a memo with an important headline: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”

Bush, however, was on a month-long vacation at the time. He heard the briefer out and replied, “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.” A month later, al Qaeda killed 3,000 people.

For Rubin and Bolling, the response is, in effect, “Yeah, but other than that, he kept us safe.” The problem, of course, is that’s roughly the equivalent of saying other than that iceberg, the Titanic had a pleasant voyage. Other than that one time, Pompeii didn’t have to worry about the nearby volcano. Other than Booth, Lincoln enjoyed his evening at Ford’s Theater.

It is, in other words, a little more difficult to airbrush catastrophic events from history.

I can appreciate the zeal with which Republican pundits want to rehabilitate Bush’s poor standing, but they’ll have to do better than this.

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, April 24, 2013

April 25, 2013 Posted by | Boston Marathon Bombings, National Security | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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