How the right wing echo chamber makes lies real

Did you hear that Obama is traveling to India this week? Did you hear that it’s going to cost the U.S. taxpayers over $2 billion, and require the deployment of 34 war ships? Yup. It’s going to cost the U.S. taxpayers more per day than it does to fight the entire war in Afghanistan! It’s an outrage…. And, of course, it’s not even remotely true… But that hasn’t stopped the frenzied attack by the likes of Michele Bachman, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Glenn Beck these past several days. Here’s Gloria Vanderbilt’s tight-shirt-wearing son with the details:

Sure, it’s not true, but it fits the Republican narrative of big government waste under the Obama administration, so it’s what we’re hearing about today. And it makes the life of Republican officials that much easier, as they no longer have to go to all the hard work of finding real things in the budget to cut. Now, they can just make offhand comments about Obama’s astronomically expensive folly in India, thereby implying that there’s plenty of fat to be trimmed, ignoring the fact that it’s purely fictional fat in this case. And, remember, according to Mitch McConnell, it’s not their top priority to actually reign in spending, or balance the budget, but to weaken Obama’s position in 2012, so that he’ll be easier to beat. It’s all about power… and lies, such as these, don’t matter. The talking heads at Fox may concede at some point that they were wrong on this, but it won’t make any difference. The damage has been done. They’ve already established in the minds of their millions of viewers that this is a wasteful, corrupt and disconnected regime that is spending us into the grave. This is how things work in the era of Fox News. You force-feed the American people shit you know to be fictitious for 48-hours straight, until it permeates the collective subconscious, and then, once you can’t beat it any more, you issue a 1-minute correction, and then you move on to the next item on the misinformation campaign.

Oh, and by the way, I have it on good authority that Michele Bachman spends over $50 million dollars a day of taxpayer money on makeup.

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  1. Posted November 6, 2010 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    And, here, if you don’t like Anderson Cooper, is Rachel Maddow on the same thing.

  2. Kim
    Posted November 6, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t there someone, like the FCC, charged with overlooking things such as these? When someone says “fuck” on TV, there’s a charge. Why not in the case of lying?

  3. Posted November 6, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Michele Bachman, girl, you need to spend a little more. (Oh no I dinnit just make a disparaging comment about a female’s looks. Oh yes I did!)

    Kim, you are correct. Remember when Slash from Guns’n’Roses got in all sorts of trouble? And all my man said was, “We’d luck to fuckin’ thank….” These assholes should have some sort of consequences, but I doubt they will….

  4. Ted
    Posted November 6, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Maybe, at the very least, we could publish the home addresses for Fox execs, so that their neighbors now what it is that they do for a living. Propaganda has no place in modern society.

  5. Edward
    Posted November 6, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    You can start by joining Turn Off Fox.

  6. dragon
    Posted November 6, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    When consistency is obtained the hypothesis becomes a theory and provides a coherent set of propositions which explain a class of phenomena. A theory is then a framework within which observations are explained and predictions are made.

  7. Tbot
    Posted November 7, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Here are Fox’s sponsors:

  8. Meta
    Posted November 8, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    While we’re talking about Fox, I thought that this article on Olbermann’s recent issue at MSNBC might be of interest.

    Lean Forward?
    MSNBC host Keith Olbermann made the maximum legal campaign contributions to Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), and the now-defeated Senate candidate Jack Conway (D-KY). After learning of Olbermann’s donations last Thursday, and ever “mindful of NBC News policies and standards,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin “acted quickly” to temporarily suspend Olbermann, who will return to host his show this Tuesday. While Olbermann’s role as an opinion host does not require his personal impartiality, he should have disclosed the donation according to NBC’s policy and admitted to a procedural error. But MSNBC — which has embraced the new tagline “Lean Forward ” — was too hasty in shutting out its most popular and effective news host. Even conservative publications deemed the suspension “ludicrous.” While Olbermann should and will return to host Countdown, the incident illustrates a vital difference of integrity. While MSNBC suspended Olbermann for a private campaign donation, Fox News is encouraging its commentators to launch, create, endorse, promote, and raise funds for Republican candidates while the parent company is donating millions directly to the GOP. As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) pointed out, “We live in a time when 90 percent of talk radio is dominated by right-wing extremists, when the Republican Party has its own cable network (Fox) and when progressive voices are few and far between.” Olbermann is a long-standing progressive champion who always shares his opinions openly, but also takes seriously his role as a responsible conveyor of facts. The difference between Olbermann and a myriad of Fox pundits — and the difference between MSNBC and Fox News itself — is the difference between a news operation and a partisan political machine.

    PLAYING BY THE RULES: According to NBC’s policy, “anyone working for NBC News who takes part in civic or other outside activities” such as political contributions “may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of conflict of interest.” Thus, NBC requires journalists to “report any such potential conflicts in advance to, and obtain prior approval of, the President of NBC News or his designee.” As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent points out, as a long-standing opinion host, Olbermann “doesn’t pretend to be an ‘impartial journalist'” and, as part of MSNBC’s progressive political mission , isn’t “necessarily required to follow NBC News rules.” Certainly, other MSNBC figures like Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough and contributor Pat Buchanan have made several political contributions, with Scarborough giving a local Alabama Republican candidate $5,000 as recently as this year. CNBC host Larry Kudlow donated $1,000 to Republican Chris Shays in May of 2009 and serves on the Leadership Council to the Club for Growth, a conservative group that has donated over $2 million to Republican candidates this year. However, unlike Olbermann, Scarborough cleared his contribution in 2006 (and presumably did so this year). Buchanan is a contributor rather than a host, and CNBC is exempt from NBC’s policy. Ultimately, while the description of Olbermann as an “impartial journalist” isn’t exactly correct, he — like Scarborough — is bound by NBC policy, and thus should have disclosed his donation and — despite his reported reluctance — admitted to his error.

    THE FOX FOIL: In attempting to maintain a standard of journalistic integrity, MSNBC’s suspension of Olbermann marks a clear delineation between the traditional news outlets and the growing political influence of Fox News. While NBC, MSNBC, Newsweek, the New York Times, Reuters, ABC, CBS, NPR, Dow Jones, and U.S. News & World Report all either forbid or restrict political contributions to prevent appearance of partiality, Fox News has shrugged off the thinly-veiled “fair and balanced” slogan to become a powerful propaganda network delivering a comprehensive platform for the GOP. This year’s midterm elections alone illustrate Fox’s ubiquitous influence in boosting Republican candidates by fundraising, donating, endorsing, and even grooming most of its on-air “talent” to contend for Republican victories. Right-wing host Sean Hannity, for instance, has become a one-man RNC fundraiser this year. Fundraising comfortably from the “back pockets” of failed Senate candidates Christine O’Donnell (R-DE), Sharron Angle (R-NV), and Carly Fiorina (R-CA), Hannity also created the candidacy of defeated House candidate John Gomez (R-NY) and “maxed out” the individual contribution limit on his campaign. Hannity and fellow Fox host Glenn Beck also doled out the dough for the doyenne of the Fox News favorites, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). While Fox host Glenn Beck specifically asked Bachmann “how can I help you raise money” on air, Hannity and his wife each offered a $5,000 contribution to Bachmann’s PAC. Like MSNBC, Fox News received flak for the contribution and promised Hannity would declare his contribution on-air when he next interviewed Bachmann. Hannity, however, did not comply and appears to have received no penalty. Still, no other candidate has benefited more from the network than Ohio Governor-elect John Kasich. A former Fox anchor himself, Kasich benefited from multiple fundraising sessions on Hannity’s television show and even received a $1 million contribution from his “personal friend” and the News Corp. CEO, Rupert Murdoch. Indeed, as if to ensure that the network is a foil to any credible news standard, News Corp. donated an unprecedented $1 million to the Republican Governors Association because its “agenda” supports “our priorities.”

    THE NEWS STANDARD: As Fox’s fluid role in politics proves, today’s news media present an “ever-evolving petri dish of political/journalistic ethics.” As Slate’s Dave Weigel explains, “over the past thirty years, we’ve seen an explosion of talk radio and cable news journalism which politicians, candidates and interest groups use to get their message out without an ‘objective’ filter.” While Fox has become the chief “talking point conveyance device” for the GOP, “nothing quite like” Hannity, Beck, and the 2012 contributors “exists on the left right now.” Olbermann is certainly the “unabashedly liberal-leaning counterpart to cable television’s conservative hosts” who personally champions many progressive issues and shares his opinions openly on the air. But unlike Fox pundits seem to do, he has never brought on political figures to personally raise funds, endorse, or create their candidacy for office. In an age where “you’ve got an electorate and television audience who watch some shows because they think the host is on their side politically,” the difference between what Olbermann does on air and what those like Hannity do is the difference between point-of-view journalism and political manipulation. As fellow MSNBC host Rachel Maddow points out, Olbermann’s temporary suspension should “lay to rest forever” the “facile, never-true-anyway, bullpucky, lazy conflation of Fox News and what the rest of us do for a living.” While many might dub MSNBC as the “mirror image” of Fox News, this incident makes the difference clearly black and white. Fox “is run as a political operation. [MSNBC] isn’t,” said Maddow. “Yeah, Keith’s a liberal, and so am I. But we’re not a political operation — Fox is. We’re a news operation. The rules around here are part of how you know that.”

    From ThinkProgress.

  9. ytown
    Posted November 8, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    What is it costing the U.S. taxpayers for the big O’s trip? You sound as if you might know the answer.

  10. John Galt
    Posted November 8, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I hear through my sources that Michelle Obama eats $70 million dollars in ribs each week. As for how much this pilgrimage back to the Holy Land for our Muslim President, I think it’s costing more than the moon launch.

  11. Posted November 8, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Of course it costs more than the “moon launch”; Hollywood wasn’t that expensive in the late-1960s.

  12. Larry Seven Larry
    Posted November 8, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe you think the moon is real, cmadler.

  13. Mr. X
    Posted May 22, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    NY Magazine has a great piece on Beck, Roger Ailes, and the situation at Fox News. I highly recommend it.

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