Pictures is nice!
Pictures is nice!
Headlines today at Media Matters.
Frank Bruni today in the New York Times writes of the vast distance between those in uniform and the celebrity pundits busily passing judgement on a soldier. Pundits, most of whom have never even tried on a uniform. Good column. He also says this:
This has been an emotional, messy and confusing week, which ends with as many questions as answers. One of mine concerns the Obama administration: Is there anyone there doing serious messaging strategy? Anyone stepping back to consider how a story like this one is likely to unfold and how the administration may get tripped up in it?
When Susan Rice (rightly or wrongly) carries around that Benghazi baggage, how do you send her of all emissaries onto TV to talk up the “honor and distinction” of Bergdahl’s military service? This characterization was sure to be disputed; there was countervailing evidence in circulation even as she spoke. How do you fail to realize that this is going to come back to bite you? Incredible.
On the couch at Fox & Friends this morning, let us hear Keith Ablow – FOX’s ‘psychiatric consultant’ – look deeply into Bergdahl’s participation in a ballet some years back:
“The fact that he was a dancer and a lifter — not a weightlifter, but I guess he would lift the ballerina — what does that mean?” Brian Kilmeade asked, with an assist from fellow host Steve Doocy.
“Supposedly he was recruited by these girls to have that role,” Ablow replied. “I think front and center on any stage is this guy’s M.O.: unless it doesn’t feed him narcissistically — you can’t give him a job unless you’re going to tell him you’re the star and we’re going to keep you at a throttle of twelve out of ten.”
And then the pinpoint turn: “I’ve been saying it before, Barack Obama does not have the will of the American people, Americanism, in his soul. This swap, somebody who may not feel very American for five people who definitely don’t, is symptomatic of that. It was bound to happen when you have a leader who doesn’t affiliate with patriotism.”
“Well, he definitely wanted out of Afghanistan and maybe it’s his way of closing GTMO regardless of the consequences,” Doocy said.
“He wants out of America, my friend,” Ablow said. “Trust me.”
Ablow prefaced the entire exchange by conceding he had not evaluated Bergdahl or his parents “formally,” which is TV-psychospeak for “at all.”
That would be this Ablow (Wikipedia):
While providing Fox News television “medical analysis*” of the October 11th, 2012 Vice Presidential debate, Ablow strongly and repeatedly suggested that some of Vice President Joe Biden‘s behaviors, such as interruptions of the opposing candidate and what he believed to be excessive laughter, might mean that he should be evaluated for dementia, alcoholism, or other conditions. “I’m not diagnosing him,” he clarified. “I haven’t evaluated him. But psychological testing – It’s anyone’s guess what it would show.”
*’Medical analysis’ – who in that god-forsaken place assigns a ‘medical analyst’ to debate commentary?
Truth be told though, I think his latest and very vigorous climate change denial (‘climate changes all the time”) is going to come back and bite him in his soft ass.
From the venerable Union of Concerned Scientists:
This looks exactly right to me. It’s FOX after all. Plus I’m too lazy to go any deeper than reading this post at Andrew Sullivan’s (gay conservative Catholic now disowned by the right for something-or-other) blog, The Dish.
So why? Demonizing Obamacare is not working quite as well anymore as polls show more acceptance among Americans. But Benghazi? Oooooh, a shiny object that will – once again – do just fine for now to fuel the outrage machine until Monica/Hillary crowds it out.
Oh yeah, good times ahead.
Of course they went there. The very next day.
From the couch of the stupid, Elizabeth Hasselback lamented that ““ you have our soldiers not being able to arm themselves . . . if they do have a weapon, they are to register it within five days of purchase. . . then that must be stored away in these lockers so that it cannot be carried on their person, therefore leaving them vulnerable.”
Doocy then pointed to the current Democratic president by quoting a conservative blogger: “Gateway Pundit, which is a way right-leaning blog, what they write this morning is, ‘The Obama administration is responsible for this mass shooting. They witnessed this before, they didn’t learn a thing. Gun-free zones are death zones. It is time to stand up to the lunacy.’”
You’re not even pretending anymore or you’ve run out of graphic magic tricks.
Tea Party hero “Joe the Plumber” (name’s not really Joe and he never was a plumber) has a new job. At Chrysler. Which could hire him because they didn’t go out of business in 2009 after, you know, that socialist ‘rescue package’ from the Feds saved their baby bottoms. Also, it’s a union shop – Joe is now a member of the UAW.
“In order to work for Chrysler, you are required to join the Union, in this case UAW. There’s no choice – it’s a union shop – the employees voted to have it that way and in America that’s the way it is,” he wrote.
Can’t wait till Neil Cavuto has him back on the program at FOX.
And I mean everything. Whatever veneer of civility existed in the US Congress was very deliberately extinguished in 1994 by Newt Gingrich when he instructed his caucus that their Democratic colleagues were no longer ‘the opposition’. They were ‘the enemy’.
After that, and after being tossed out by his own party just a few years later, and after a few more wives, and after a near bankruptcy or two, and after a vanity campaign for president, and after being hired by CNN – proving their irrelevance once again – to resurrect the reviled show Crossfire (perfect casting, I must say), comes now his call for John Kerry to resign as Secretary of State. Because climate change you know.
There’s no getting rid of this guy.
Townhall.com, an enormously influential righty website, has posted its list of the 25 most influential conservatives. AND 32 runners-up. The runners-up are:
At number 41, not only doesn’t Bill O’Reilly make their top 25, but he ranks behind trickster James O’Keefe. Methinks this will rouse Papa Bear (as Steven Colbert calls him) to new heights of retribution – an O’Reilly staple. He is, like Rush Limbaugh,, remarkably thin-skinned for someone who’s been in the public eye for so long.
The WWII Memorial in D.C. that Obama closed. Apparently he still refuses to explain why he hates Americas vets.
Because nothing else happened tonight.
Dear Stuart Varney: You are an idiot and that’s probably why you’re a star at the Fox Business channel (the one no one watches). Asked if Federal workers are deserving of back pay when this is over, Varney said:
That is a loaded question isn’t it? You want my opinion? . . . No, I don’t think they should get their back pay, frankly, I really don’t. I’m sick and tired of a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy living on our backs, and taking money out of us, a lot more money than most of us earn in the private sector, then getting a furlough, and then getting their money back at the end of it. Sorry, I’m not for that. I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that’s what I want to do.
(Why is he sorry to say that?) Stuart, the people you want to punish aren’t the ones who created the agencies, funded them, or made the rules. They are people, plain people who work in payroll or data processing. Maybe they’re engineers or safety inspectors or mathematicians or nurses. Perhaps they clean the offices. How about the folks who answer phones at IRS, CDC, Defense . . . they don’t carry weapons so they’re probably non-essential. I’m guessing that most departments have IT people – let’s hope nobody needs critical help on their computers or – Elvis forbid – servers.
As for those who are essential … they’re required to stay on the job (see Washington DC, Thursday, Capitol Police) but won’t see paychecks for the duration. And today is Friday – for most people, that’s payday.
And you want to punish them. Delightful.
Now that the couch at Fox & Friends is getting a new lady to sit in the middle, it’s time for me to stop referring to Brian Kilmeade as the one whose name no one knows. After all, he is now the second most recognizable face of the couch dwellers. Watch that very face as John McCain ‘splains a little something:
Launched today and we should all wish them luck. It’ll be nice to have a real news channel on cable. We’ll see. Should be okay as long as they keep it Wolf Blitzer free.
As this story says (video at the link) this is the single most cringe-worthy interview ever.
The author here, Reza Aslan, has been interviewed extensively on C-Span’s Booknotes, PBS’ News Hour, the BBC and dozens of other outlets. So why not FOX? This is why – and lesson learned. Don’t bother next time Reza, unless you’re game for providing the rest of us with something to fill in the time while Jon Stewart is away.
Fox News anchor Lauren Green* had religious scholar Reza Aslan on her FoxNews.com show Friday to talk about Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, his book that has been stirring up some online controversy recently. And right off the bat, Green gets to what is important: “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” Aslan seemed a little flabbergasted: “Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”*
But Green just wouldn’t let it go: “It still begs the question though, why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?” Aslan then starts talking to Green slowly, as if she were a child: “Because it’s my job as an academic. I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament. That’s what I do for a living, actually.” But Green insisted, accusing him of failing to “disclose” that he’s a Muslim and at one point asking him about a stupefying claim on whether a Muslim writing a book on Jesus isn’t sort of like a Democrat writing a book on former president Ronald Reagan.
Dear god (by which I mean the one of the Hebrews, Christians and Muslims. That one.)
*And she’s not even blonde!
Oh boy, ‘s true. From ABC News, and now echoing with hallejulia’s from every single bit of righty internet real estate, where, all along, the between-the-lines-meme has been that George was really a hero.
George Zimmerman, who has been in hiding since he was acquitted of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, emerged to help rescue a family who was trapped in an overturned vehicle, police said today.
Zimmerman was one of two men who came to the aid of a family of four — two parents and two children — trapped inside a blue Ford Explorer SUV that had rolled over after traveling off the highway in Sanford, Fla. at approximately 5:45 p.m. Thursday, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
This isn’t directed at Zimmerman who did a good thing here. It’s his media fans. They do piss me off.
His name is Titus. He is two years old. And this is real. (He showed up on Fox & Friends and it was going great ’till Brian Kilmeade (the one whose name no one can remember) tried to get in the act and basically lobbed the ball into little Titus’ face. Show over. The little guy burst into loud tears and Dad carried him off the set trying to make things right by saying “Brian didn’t mean it”. What he should have said was “Brian is just a doofus.”
Granted there was major competing news over the last few days, but I’ll go out on a limb and say this chart would look exactly the same in a slow news week.
Something old becomes new because a few days ago FOX & Friends found out about it, or more accurately, found out about a little part of it, and that was all they needed to sputter into outrage, along with the entire right-wing noise machine – especially since the word Jesus was uttered without the genuflect.
We all know how this goes: it’s a tiresome formula – raise the noise level sufficiently to feed the audience and they’ll keep coming back.
Here’s the story from a column by Frank Cerabino at The Palm Beach Post (he’s a favorite read for me):
An adjunct professor at FAU teaching an intercultural communications class was following a textbook exercise that called for students to write the word “Jesus” on a piece of paper and instructing them to step on the paper.
“Most will hesitate,” the handbook says. “Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”
One student objected to the voluntary classroom exercise, and made a complaint to the news media, saying his professor told him to “stomp on Jesus” and that he was suspended from class for his refusal to participate. . .
In fact, the student was suspended for threatening the Professor.
. . . [the instructor] was following an exercise written by a professor at a Catholic college in Wisconsin, an exercise that has been used for 10 years in colleges without incident . . . the exercise was designed to be an affirmation of faith and a recognition of the emotional power that disrespect of religion carries — a way for students to understand the strong reactions other cultures have to disrespect for their own religion.
Our 30% Governor said that “the professor’s lesson was offensive, and even intolerant, to Christians and those of all faiths who deserve to be respected as Americans entitled to religious freedom.” Which was the very point of the classroom exercise. But no matter.
He even offered an apology to the student and called for an investigation.
Maybe before our indicted-for-Medicare-fraud-former-hospital-executvive governor cranks up the old investigation machine, he might look at saving the taxpayers a few bucks – he could just read a full news account. But that wouldn’t get him into the middle of the story.
Back at FOX Mike Huckabee came forth with my favorite comment: “People wonder what’s wrong with higher education, This is what’s wrong with higher education.” Right there is a good argument to stop the dangerous teaching of Engineering or the Classics. Of course had he paid more attention when he was pursing his own higher education, he might have been inspired to learn the whole story.
Over at Buzzfeed, responding to the urgent yet eternal need to fill space with any and all arcana the little webloggers can think up . . . they’ve morphed everyone’s favorite cable talking heads so we have an O’Reilly/Maddow, an S.E. Cupp/Toure (one of the better ones) and on . . . missing from the fun are Matthews, Hannity, a few others. Here’s my favorite – it really works!
In the last recent months, credible media have begun treating Joe Scarborough as a serious thinker with something to say. He’s penning op-eds in The New York Times and The Washington Post and appearing on Sunday news (not a high standard, but he’s there).
Most recently he engaged in an infamous exchange with Paul Krugman on the Charlie Rose show where, as if hosting the Tim Matthews Memorial Wanna-Be Gottcha’ Competition, he went after Krugman in an unusual and nearly hostile exchange. (Rose usually keeps that sort of argument from developing because his audience isn’t into it. But he didn’t that night.)
I watch Morning Joe if I watch morning TV (hey, it’s a step up from Honey Boo Boo, so give me credit for that). What I’ve seen, regularly, is the Scarborough routine wherein he instantly adopts as his own whatever his guest has just said. He does this almost every day. And heads around the table nod. Irksome.
And now this escalation, so I ask: what outside entity is creating this new persona. Who is crafting – maybe for network TV, maybe for politics yet again – the 2013 edition of Joe Scarborough? Because I don’t think he’s steering that ship.
Bit the first: Why do I turn on Fox News? Why?
Right now, they are covering:
Kind of nice how Gun Appreciation Day falls on the MLK Holiday weekend, isn’t it.
Bit the second: in news from my old backyard, a cross-dressing Monsignor in Bridgeport CT has been arrested for dealing crystal meth. He had been pastor at the Catholic Cathedral there before he resigned last summer.
Since his resignation, he has been receiving a stipend from the Diocese and they had intended to keep paying it until:
. . . reading in the Connecticut Post that Wallin, 61, is accused by federal authorities of making so much money from selling the drug that he purchased an adult sex shop in North Haven named The Land of Oz to launder the money, Wallace said the diocese may stop the payments.
May stop paying him. May.
Sources with knowledge of the case told the Connecticut Post that while pastor, Wallin was observed dressing as a woman and was visited in his residence by men dressed as women who performed sex acts with him in the cathedral’s rectory. The sources said an assortment of sex toys was found in Wallin’s residence.
I guess Mother Church can be allowed a sigh of relief on that particular. It, at least, was consensual.
And bit the third: CNN has been covering the Inauguration since early this morning from a cold outdoor location facing the Capital. Because you can’t grab a seat too early. Or because they think it’s the Superbowl maybe?
That’s kind of comforting actually. Seeing CNN be CNN reminds me that some of the world’s silliness has survived the world’s madness.
I like Michael Moore. He has been the authentic artistic voice of the abandoned industrial cities of the mid-West and has grown into a successful and talented film maker and provocateur. I like him. And we need provocateurs always, but as a film director might concede, timing is everything.
Moore did no favors today for Chuck Hagel nor for the likely contentious confirmation battle to come once Obama, as expected, nominates Hagel for Sec Def. Moore penned a column for The Huffington Post. Here’s a bit:
But what you probably haven’t seen — because everyone has forgotten — is that back in 2007, Chuck Hagel went totally crazy and told the truth about our invasion of Iraq. Here’s what he said:
“People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are. They talk about America’s national interest. What the hell do you think they’re talking about? We’re not there for figs.”
Hagel was and is a brave and pretty honest guy. He shares many of the qualities that make people like Chris Christie – candid, fearless. But Moore’s is a voice that inflames the right and when he stands up publicly for Chuck Hagel, I fear he makes the coming battle even more difficult because we may now expect an even louder torrent of outrage from the usual suspects.
I’m reminded of a single line of movie dialogue from the 90’s. The film was The American President (one of my favorite films and in many ways a perfect movie). As the prez, Michael Douglas says “And we’re gonna get the guns. If we have to go door to door, we’ll get the guns.”
That probably didn’t help either.
One by one our American Christmas traditions have been falling into place – and right on schedule. Last week, the White House tree was delivered, then cyber-Thanksgiving went off with its now world-famous vulgar celebration of mindless consumerism, and tonight is the lighting of the Rock Center Tree. One thing has been missing though – until now. Fox News has finally launched its traditional War on the War on Christmas. Sleigh bells ring.
I love these guys.
In case you can’t see it, the cryon reads:
VOTER INTIMIDATION CONCERNS: Member of Black Panther Party at PA voting site. (Got it? One member. And he is present. I’d say case closed.)
This keen bit of reporting ought to earn those FOX fellows the Great Hero of the Electoral Restoration of 2012 badge.
Expect that tonight enough underwear will be tied into knots to bring everyone home from the Space Station and shuttles be damned!