Archive for fox news misinformation

Maddow blasts conservative media for "bullpucky" headLIES, hypocrisy

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maddow show hooker line and sinker

Last night Rachel Maddow rightfully blasted the conservative "news" media for creating false headlines, spreading "bullpucky," inventing their own news, and indulging in the worst kind of self-serving hypocrisy and propaganda. Here is the entire segment, well worth a watch. Further down is a much shorter clip in which Maddow skillfully and effectively gets to the heart of the matter.

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Maddow bullet pointed several scandals, including this one:

Hooker scandals are about as rare in politics as hot days in July. We have a lot of them. But just because we have them all the time... it doesn't mean that they're ever anything but awkward. But here, perhaps, is the mother of them all.

vitter pillVitter madame phone list

And then she documented the blatant hypocrisy of the right wing commentator who founded the conservative media outlet The Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson.

They [the conservative media] decided that Sen. David Vitter's history with hookers just wasn't a big deal. Nothing that we should 'bother' the Senator about. Tucker Carlson [said], "That's barely illegal."

Tuck compared that felony to "double parking." Yes. He said that. Just watch the video above, it's at about 16:20. He tossed that out just before he blurted out that "one out of three women" patronizing New Orleans restaurants was "for sale." And then he claimed he'd defend any Democrat as zealously as he defended Vitter. An equal opportunity defender of hooking up with hookers. What a guy.

Maddow's Moment of Mockitude followed:

Who among us has not paid a hooker for sex while serving in the United States Senate? Can't these people solicit hookers in peace without us bothering them?

But oops! Carlson's own Daily Caller called out Democratic Senator Bob Menendez for... guess what?

daily caller gop fail hypocrisy hooker scandal

Of course, the Daily Caller pushed the story hard, and before you know it, that paragon of accurate reporting, Fox, ran with it. And ran with it. And ran with it. Right before the 2012 election. Of course, the story turned out to be bogus, but hey, that never stops the liberal right wing media, now does it? Oh, and Menendez won the election.

As it turns out, the only time the GOP defends paying for sex is when their fellow Republicans engage. But the minute a Democrat gets caught with his pants down, fugetaboutit. All bets are off. Peddle that story. Sell it hard. Make it sound legit. Smear the opponent. Condemn the Dem.

Here is how Rachel Maddow ended the segment. It's a concise history of right wing "news" headlies. That's no typo, it isn't meant to read "headlines." It's headlies. Because that's what they sell, and that's what eager and/or willfully ignorant and/or gullible audiences buy.

The most pointed part of the Rachel Rant came at the end. Here's the clip:

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Maddow:

...Bullpucky that has been invented by and for the conservative media who are happy to tell each other for years that this is news and not just stuff they made up. While the real media, and frankly the politicians who have to swim in that sewer, have to worry about this parallel track of paranoid, fake information, that traffics as news on the American political right, but that is disproven everywhere else outside their echo chamber...

It is one thing for us to be domestically inventing this stuff for ourselves. It's another thing for this weird, fake channel in our supposed news media to allegedly, at least, to become a conveyor belt to foreign countries' disinformation about U.S. government officials...

[This] has to do with our own intelligence as a nation and what the consequences are for all of us, of a conservative movement that has now spent a full generation telling people, telling Americans, "Do not trust the actual news," and to instead invent their own conservative version of it. And they did that. And this is where it got us.

And apparently, at least, Cuba, maybe, appears to be delighted with the results.

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Expert on cultural production of ignorance "watches Fox News all the time"

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ignorance via Armando Lioss smallerPhoto via Armando Lioss

One of my favorite columnists, Michael Hiltzik (scroll), along with most sane people (read: not right wing extremists), does not think ignorance is bliss. In fact, he points out how the commercialization of ignorance has not only dumbed down America, it has endangered it. Hiltzik describes how industries thrive on disseminating public misinformation while they profit off of selling harmful concepts and products, exploit a willing media, all at the expense of increasingly oblivious consumers.

He cites the work of Robert Proctor, a professor of the history of science at Stanford and "one of the world's leading experts in agnotology, a neologism signifying the study of the cultural production of ignorance."

Hiltzik's piece in the Los Angeles Times is one that should be read in its entirety, but the highlights alone will make your hair stand on end. Alcoholic beverages and/or sedatives strongly recommended prior to reading:

Robert Proctor doesn't think ignorance is bliss. He thinks that what you don't know can hurt you. And that there's more ignorance around than there used to be, and that its purveyors have gotten much better at filling our heads with nonsense. [...]

The tobacco industry was a pioneer at this. Its goal was to erode public acceptance of the scientifically proven links between smoking and disease: In the words of an internal 1969 memo legal opponents extracted from Brown & Williamson's files, "Doubt is our product." Big Tobacco's method should not be to debunk the evidence, the memo's author wrote, but to establish a "controversy."

Yes, infuriatingly, they peddle doubt and go out of their way to create controversy in order to implant big question marks in the minds of an unsuspecting, undereducated public. By inducing the media to "present both sides" when, in fact, there may not be two legitimate sides (science, anyone?), they divert focus and evade facts. For example, we've seen how they "sow doubts about the safety of childhood immunizations" (coughBachmann!cough) and deny climate change. And don't get me started on the lies about the Affordable Care Act:

When this sort of manipulation of information is done for profit, or to confound the development of beneficial public policy, it becomes a threat to health and to democratic society. [...]

And all those fabricated Obamacare horror stories wholesaled by Republican and conservative opponents of the Affordable Care Act and their aiders and abetters in the right-wing press? Their purpose is to sow doubt about the entire project of healthcare reform; if the aim were to identify specific shortcomings of the act, they'd have to accompany every story with a proposal about how to fix it.

My head couldn't stop nodding in agreement when I caught this part:

"Nonsense is nonsense, but the history of nonsense is scholarship." As part of his scholarship, Proctor says he "watches Fox News all the time."... Citing the results of a 2012 Gallup poll, Proctor asks, "If half the country thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old, how can you really develop an effective environmental policy? This sort of traditional or inertial ignorance bars us from being able to act responsibly on large social issues."

He goes on to explain how Big Tobacco exploited the tea party's obsession with what they love to call "freedom" and "choice," which of course plays into their anti-government meme, a position that consequently benefits the cigarette industry. Hiltzik emphasizes the importance of educating Americans in order to renew their trust in science. Competent journalism wouldn't hurt in that regard, now would it? He ends with this quote:

The effort needs to begin at a young age, [Proctor] says. "You really need to be teaching third-, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-graders that some people lie. And why do they lie? Because some people are greedy."

in greed we trust

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La Cucaracha: "Hitting yourself in the head with a hammer" makes you more informed than watching Fox News

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A major advantage of having a Twitter pal like the wonderful Lalo Alcaraz (@LaloAlcaraz) is that he generously shares his work with us.

Here’s today’s La Cucaracha:

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Poll-itics: "Fox News lead[s] people to be even less informed than those who don't watch any news at all."

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Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind Poll:

According to the latest results from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll, some news sources make us less likely to know what’s going on in the world. ...The conclusion: Sunday morning news shows do the most to help people learn about current events,while some outlets, especially Fox News, lead people to be even less informed than those who don’t watch any news at all. [...]

For example, people who watch Fox News, the most popular of the 24-hour cable news networks, are 18-points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government than those who watch no news at all (after controlling for other news sources, partisanship, education and other demographic factors). Fox News watchers are also 6-points less likely to know that Syrians have not yet overthrown their government than those who watch no news.

Gee, what a surprise. ClusterFox viewers are uninformed... and then you know what they do? They go out and vote for candidates who are so busy fellating corporations while screwing the rest of us that all they have time to do is block Democratic bills. Which just confirms that Republicans get turned on by anything and anyone other than their own spouses.

And here comes the most delicious suh-nap! of the year:

Exposure to Sunday morning news shows helps respondents on this question: seeing these programs leads to an 11-point increase in the likelihood of getting the answer right. Listening to NPR also helps, but the biggest aid to answering correctly is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which leads to a 6-point decrease in identifying the protestors as Republicans, and a 12-point increase in the likelihood of giving the correct answer.

You can see the rest here.

H/t: Taegan

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