Posts tagged "Fixed Noise"

Fox figures praised armed supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy as good, patriotic, hard-working Americans, ignoring their threats of violence against Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents and indications that they were willing to put women in children in the line of fire.

Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy Refuses To Pay Grazing Fees, Resulting In Standoff With BLM

Los Angeles Times: Bundy Refused To Pay Grazing Fees For Use Of Federal Land.  As the Los Angeles Times reported on April 7:

Bundy is battling with federal officials over his cattle’s grazing on 150 square miles of scrub desert overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. He has refused to pay BLM grazing fees since 1993, arguing in court filings that his Mormon ancestors worked the land long before the BLM was formed, giving him rights that predate federal involvement. His back fees exceed $300,000, he says. [Los Angeles Times4/7/14]

AP: Court Ordered Bundy To Pay Fees Or His Cattle Would Be Confiscated. Bundy refused to pay the fees he owed, and so the BLM attempted to carry out court orders to confiscate his cattle to settle the debt:

A federal judge in Las Vegas first ordered Bundy to remove his trespassing cattle in 1998. The bureau was implementing two federal court orders last year to remove Bundy’s cattle after making repeated efforts to resolve the matter outside court, Kornze said, adding the rancher has not paid grazing fees in 20 years. [Associated Press, 4/13/14]

AP: BLM Halted Cattle Confiscation After Armed Militias Showed Up To Protest. As the Associated Pressreported, after the Bureau of Land Management began confiscating Bundy’s cattle, armed  ”states’ rights protesters, including militia members, showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals’ return to rancher Cliven Bundy,” leading to the BLM’s decision to halt the confiscation:

Federal land managers say “escalating tensions” led them to release all 400 or so head of cattle rounded up on public land in southern Nevada from a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority.

Bureau of Land Management Chief Neil Kornze announced an abrupt halt to the weeklong roundup just hours before the release.

"Based on information about conditions on the ground and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concerns about the safety of employees and members of the public," Kornze said in a statement. [Associated Press, 4/13/14]

Sen. Harry Reid Calls Armed Protestors “Domestic Terrorists”

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Sen. Reid Called Bundy's Armed Supporters “Domestic Terrorists.” At an event hosted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) called armed protesters supporting Bundy ”domestic terrorists,” saying, “Those people who hold themselves out to be patriots, are not. They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal4/17/14]

Bundy Repeatedly Threatens Violence Against BLM Agents

Las Vegas Sun: Bundy Said He Would “Do Whatever It Takes” To Protect His Cattle. In 2013, Bundy told the Las Vegas Sun he would “do whatever it takes” to prevent the government from seizing his cattle:

[T]he rancher insists his cattle aren’t going anywhere. He acknowledges that he keeps firearms at his ranch and has vowed to “do whatever it takes” to defend his animals from seizure.

"I’ve got to protect my property," Bundy said as Arden steered several cattle inside an elongated pen. "If people come to monkey with what’s mine, I’ll call the county sheriff. If that don’t work, I’ll gather my friends and kids and we’ll try to stop it. I abide by all state laws. But I abide by almost zero federal laws."Bundy’s wife Carol told the Sun that she owns a shotgun and is prepared to use it:

Carol Bundy said her husband is not a violent man, just a person who will protect what he owns. For that matter, so is she.

"I’ve got a shotgun," she said. "It’s loaded and I know how to use it. We’re ready to do what we have to do, but we’d rather win this in the court of public opinion." [Las Vegas Sun9/23/13]

Bundy's Response To Question About Resorting To Violence: ”I Didn’t Say I Wouldn’t Carry A Gun.” On the April 10 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, Ingraham asked Bundy whether he would resort to violence to settle the dispute:

INGRAHAM: When you said you would do quote “whatever it takes,” to stop the government from impounding your cattle, what did you mean by that? Did you mean you would resort to violence?

BUNDY: What I said was — I didn’t say I wouldn’t carry a gun. [The Laura Ingraham Show4/10/14, via Media Matters]

Fox Figures Praise “Patriotic” Bundy Supporters

Fox’s Earhardt: Bundy Supporters Are “Good, Hardworking Americans.” On the April 18 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Ainsley Earhardt expressed outrage at Sen. Harry Reid’s comments that Bundy’s supporters are “domestic terrorists,” saying:

EARHARDT: And then the question this morning, the government’s reaction to all of this. They’re pulling guns on these individuals, on Harry Reid’s community. These are folks that live in Nevada, these are good, hardworking Americans. So they disagree and the government goes out there and pulls guns and now Harry Reid’s calling them terrorists? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/18/14]

Fox's Morris: Supporters Were “Protesting Peacefully.” In a later segment during the April 18 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Clayton Morris claimed that, “Suddenly people are there protesting peacefully, arguing against government intervention here … and all of these police and folks roll in with guns and sniper rifles pointing at them.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends4/18/14]

Fox’s Napolitano: Ranch Protesters ”Shows You The Resistance Of Patriotic Americans.” Fox contributor Andrew Napolitano and Bill O’Reilly discussed the Nevada standoff on the April 17 edition of The O’Reilly Factor. Both conceded that Bundy’s actions were illegal, yet Napolitano called his supporters “patriotic” and downplayed their threats of violence:

O’REILLY: But here’s the fact. The federal government sent more force in to handle Cliven Bundy’s cows than they did to Ukraine. Right, I mean we can’t even get binoculars over there for those people but we have all of this.

NAPOLITANO: It shows you the attitude of the federal government today, and it shows you the resistance of patriotic Americans — Americans whose voices were silenced at the scene by being moved three miles away. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor4/17/14]

Fox’s Starnes: Bundy Supporters Are “Law-Abiding” Patriots.  On the April 17 edition of Hannity, Fox contributor Todd Starnes told guest-host Eric Bolling, “The idea that you’ve got the Senate Majority Leader going out there and calling law-abiding American citizens — patriots — domestic terrorists for protesting against their government is beyond the pale.” [Fox News, Hannity4/17/14]

Fox Guest: Why Were Guns Pointed At “Hardworking Ranchers”? During the April 17 edition of Fox News’s The Kelly File, frequent Fox guest and conservative filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch demanded an explanation from Sen. Harry Reid as to why guns were pointed at “hardworking ranchers”:

LYNCH: That man [Sen. Reid], I want an explanation from him. I want to know why it is that I had M-16s pointed at my face. Why those M-16s were pointed at women and children and hardworking ranchers. I want an explanation. Because the more I keep on looking at my footage — that looked like Afghanistan. [Fox News, The Kelly File4/17/14]

Bundy Supporters Who Fox Praised Were Armed, Threatened Violence

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Armed Militia Members Mobilized For Armed Confrontation.The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on April 9 that armed militia members were joining Bundy in his standoff with the BLM:

From near and wide, armed men are trickling toward Cliven Bundy’s ranch, where the rancher’s fight with the federal government has become a rallying cry for militia groups across the United States.

[…]

They say they are prepared for armed confrontation, but they insist they will not be the instigators if bloodshed happens. [Las Vegas Review-Journal4/9/14]

Reuters: Many Supporters “Wore Military Fatigues And Carried Rifles And Pistols.” Reuters reported on April 17 that many of Bundy’s supporters carried rifles and pistols:

A number of Bundy supporters wore military fatigues and carried rifles and pistols and had traveled from California, Idaho, Arizona, Montana and beyond. Most kept their handguns holstered.

[Former Arizona sheriff Richard] Mack, who wore his gun on his hip, and other Bundy supporters interviewed by Reuters said they would not shoot first but would retaliate if fired upon. [Reuters, 4/17/14]

Review-Journal: "Serious Bloodshed Was Narrowly Avoided" At The Protest. The Las Vegas Review-Journal also reported that:

On Wednesday, that dispute teetered at the edge of deadly conflict, when Cliven Bundy’s family members and supporters scuffled with rangers from the Bureau of Land Management sent to protect the federal roundup of Bundy’s cattle on public land. [Las Vegas Review-Journal4/9/14]

Huffington Post: Former Sheriff Wanted To Put “Women Up At The Front” If A Shootout Occurred. According to the Huffington Post, former Arizona sheriff and Bundy supporter Richard Mack proposed putting women on the front lines if a shootout with the BLM occurred and claimed he “would have put my own wife or daughters there”:

"We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front," he said on Fox News, according to TheBlaze.com. "If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers."

[…]

"If they’re going to start killing people, I’m sorry, but to show the world how ruthless these people are, women needed to be the first ones shot. I’m sorry, that sounds horrible. I would have put my own wife or daughters there, and I would have been screaming bloody murder to watch them die. [Huffington Post, 4/15/14]

Reuters: Bundy Supporter “Aimed His Semi-Automatic Rifle” At Federal Agents. On April 17, Reuters reported on the aftermath of the Bundy ranch protest, writing that during that during the standoff an armed protester aimed his gun at federal agents:

Flat on his belly in a sniper position, wearing a baseball cap and a flak jacket, a protester aimed his semi-automatic rifle from the edge of an overpass and waited as a crowd below stood its ground against U.S. federal agents in the Nevada desert. [Reuters, 4/17/14]

sniper

          Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Urquhart

KLAS-TV Las Vegas: Militia Man Joining Bundy Protest Said “We Provide Armed Response.” On April 10, a local Las Vegas news station KLAS-TV reported that one militia man coming to support Bundy said, “That is what we do. We provide armed response … We need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government.” [KLAS-TV Las Vegas, 4/10/14]

h/t: Olivia Marshall at MMFA
mediamattersforamerica

On the same day Fox announced Katie Pavlich’s role in a new show on the network, Pavlich created a false narrative that former IRS official Lois Lerner reached out to the Department of Justice about possible criminal prosecutions for tax-exempt groups.  Fox went on to promote the story in several segments and continued to push it even after Pavlich corrected her initial report.

On April 16, Fox News announced it would launch a new show called Outnumbered to airon weekdays at noon.  Fox contributor Katie Pavlich will be part of a rotating group of panelists on the show. The same day, Pavlich wrote on TownHall.com that new emails released under the Freedom of Information Act show that Lerner reached out to officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to discuss the possibility of criminal prosecutions for tax-exempt groups who lied about political activity on their filings. Gretchen Carlson pushed the report on The Real Story, repeating the claim that Lerner contacted officials at the DOJ to ask about criminally prosecuting the groups.

But Pavlich’s claim that Lerner contacted DOJ officials first is false — the emails show that in fact the DOJ reached out to Lerner first with a phone call. Pavlich updated and corrected her post to reflect that fact:

Editors note/correction:A previous version of this post stated and implied Lois Lerner contacted the DOJ about criminal prosecution when the emails state she in fact got a phone call from DOJ about the issue. While she was clearly in contact with DOJ about criminal prosecution for tax exempt groups, DOJ initiated the contact in this specific instance. Emails also show Lerner and Flax responded to both recommendations by Senator Whitehouse and DOJ to look into criminal prosecution. The headline to this post has also been updated.

Pavlich even acknowledged in the post that “Lerner later acknowledged pursuing prosecutions of these groups would not fit well with the law.”

Pavlich’s significant correction didn’t stop Fox from continuing to imply that Lerner was somehow conspiring with the DOJ to prosecute conservative groups. On the April 17 edition of Fox & Friends First, co-host Heather Childers pushed the story as “bombshell new evidence”:

CHILDERS: To this now, bombshell new evidence in the IRS scandal. Just-uncovered emails show that former agency official Lois Lerner spoke with the Department of Justice about going after political groups.

[…]

DOUG LUZADER: These emails appear to show that Lois Lerner herself was actively communicating with counterparts at the Department of Justice about this idea of going after political groups. 

Neither Childers nor correspondent Doug Luzader ever mentioned the fact that it was the DOJ who had reached out to Lerner first and suggested possible criminal prosecutions for tax-exempt groups who lied about their political activity. Also unmentioned was the fact that Lerner later acknowledged that pursuing prosecutions would not be realistic.

Even as Fox’s “bombshell” revelations about the IRS “scandal” continue to fizzle out, the network shows no signs of abandoning its crusade to tie the IRS controversy to corruption at the highest levels of government. Pavlich’s journalistic misstep — and Fox’s eagerness to run with her flawed narrative — stain the credibility of the network’s new daytime program before it’s even begun.

h/t: Olivia Marshall at MMFA

Ben Dimiero at mediamattersforamerica:

Five years ago, Fox News expanded its online presence with “Fox Nation.” Early promos for the site told viewers that it’s “time to say ‘no’ to biased media and ‘yes’ to fair play and free speech,” while promising that Fox fans had finally found “a place to call home.” Similarly, the “Statement of Purpose” on the site announces that it is dedicated to “the core principles of tolerance, open debate, civil discourse, and fair and balanced coverage of the news.”

But after its launch, the site quickly turned into — in the words of former Fox News producer Joe Muto — the “seedy underbelly of the Fox News online empire.” Fox Nation has for years openly cheered Republican politicians and policies, actively organized for the tea party, smeared Democrats and progressives, engaged in blatant race-baiting on a near-daily basis, and routinely elevated nonsense from the conservative fringe.

So while Fox Nation is celebrating its fifth birthday and its self-proclaimed role as a “defender of the Constitution and the home of hot debates,” Media Matters looks back at some (but nowhere near all) of the lowlights from the site’s first five years.

"Hip-Hop BBQ"

Fox Nation’s most infamous moment, which garnered widespread attention and ridicule, was posting a story about President Obama’s 2011 birthday party with the following headline and image:

image

Obama’s “War On Marriage”

After President Obama declared support for marriage equality in 2012, Fox Nation attacked him for declaring “WAR ON MARRIAGE” (the site later changed the headline):

image

Fox Nation has repeatedly trafficked in conspiracies about the president’s birth certificate, highlighting numerous stories promoting the nonsensical theory. More than once in 2009, Fox Nation attached an image of Obama wearing Somali clothes to stories promoting birther claptrap:

image

The Impending Apocalypse

In February 2011, Fox Nation promoted what Fox & Friends Saturday co-host Clayton Morris described as an “incredible piece of video” showing a “greenish figure” in a crowd of Egyptian protesters. The site quoted fellow conspiracy website WND explaining that the green figure “resembles an erect rider atop a horse in Medieval-like barding.” The headline, which was pulled from Clayton Morris’ blog, asked:

 image

A Vicious Smear Of Planned Parenthood

In 2012, Fox Nation proved how low they were willing to sink to smear their enemies. That December, a British charity for victims of domestic abuse released a video urging women not to conceal the effects of domestic violence. After Planned Parenthood posted the video to its Facebook page, Fox Nation highlighted a since-deleted article from LifeNews.com that completely inverted the message of the ad, posting it under this headline:

image

"Fox Nation Victory!"

Fox Nation’s open campaigning for Republican and conservative causes has led the site to repeatedly declare things like a 2009 congressional delay of health care reform (which the site called the “health care rationing bill”) a “Fox Nation Victory!” This 2011 headline and image about the House voting to repeal Obamacare perhaps best captures the tone of the site’s health care reform politicking:

image

Obama Handing Land To Mexico

In 2010, Fox News show America Live embarrassed itself with a “ludicrous" story about how the Obama administration was responsible for a "massive stretch" of Arizona land being closed, with host Shannon Bream telling viewers, "Critics say the administration is, in effect, giving a major strip of the Southwest back to Mexico." (The entire story was painfully misleading.) Fox Nation ramped things up by posting a link to the America Live segment with a headline informing readers that Obama “Gives Back Major Strip of AZ to Mexico.”

image

"JOIN YOUR LOCAL TEA PARTY"

Shortly after its launch, Fox Nation morphed into both a cheering section and a staging area for the tea party. The site even hosted a “virtual tea party” in 2009 for people who “can’t get to a tea party.” To give an idea of what Fox Nation’s early tea party coverage looked like, here’s a headline from March 2010:

image

Hillary’s “Communist” Clothing, “Macho” Putin, The “Nuzzling” President, And Other Lowlights

Other headlines that have appeared on Fox Nation throughout the years. May 2010:

image

July 2013:

image

January 2010:

image

March 2014:

image

August 2010: 

image

December 2009:

image

September 2009:

image

July 2009:

image

June 2009:

image

June 2009: 

image

May 2009:

image

Not to mention numerous instances during the five years of Fox Nation’s existence documented by NewsHounds.us that the FN comments routinely featured calls of death threats directed at President Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Eric Holder, Muslims, Hispanics, African-Americans, LGBTQs, unions, or basically any liberal/progressive in America. 

When a mass shooting occurs, conservative media rush to blame mental health, video games, a lack of armed people present, and even liberal values — anything but the fact that the shooter was able to get a gun.

But the single proximate factor in all mass shootings, and in all gun violence really, is that it is easy for dangerous people to access high-powered firearms. Lack of access to firearms typically makes it difficult for would-be mass murderers to carry out their plans. For instance, experts say mass stabbings are extremely rare in the United States. To the contrary, 69 percent of all homicides are committed with a gun. Of 37 public mass killings since 2006, 33 involved firearms, while the Boston Marathon bombings, an incident involving a car, and two cases of arson accounted for the other four incidents.

Furthermore, academic research has linked the easy availability of firearms to homicide. According tonumerous studies, “where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.” Compared to other high income nations which typically more strongly regulate the availability of firearms, the United States’ gun homicide rate is 19.5 times higher, leading to an overall homicide rate that is 6.9 times higher. Research has also shown, “across developed countries, where guns are more available, there are more homicides. These results often hold even when the United States is excluded.”

Following the April 2 shooting at Fort Hood that left three victims dead and 16 others wounded, conservative media have refused to acknowledge the role of easy access to firearms in shootings and have instead claimed mass shootings are caused by video games, mental health problems, the “culture war,” and by a deficiency in the number of firearms carried by the general public.

All of these claims are canards. The claim that there is a causal relationship between playing video games and future violence, including mass shootings, has been debunked by academic research. While it is important to limit firearms access for individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others, the existence of a mental health condition alone is an extremely poor predictive factor for future violence. Claims that mass shootings are caused by a liberalized culture are plainly inflammatory attempts at political point scoring. And there is no evidence that locations where guns are not allowed attract mass shooters or that more people carrying guns in public would prevent mass shootings. Additionally, the suggestion that everyone on a military base carry a gun for self-defense has been rejected by a retired four-star general and a Medal of Honor recipient, among other military experts.

Below are examples taken from past mass shootings that show conservative media dishonestly exonerating the role of easy firearm access in gun violence:

VIDEO GAMES

After Fort Hood Shooting, Fox Military Analyst Ralph Peters Cited Video Games As A Reason Mass Shootings Are “Semi-Approved In Society.” While appearing on The O’Reilly Factor on April 3, Ralph Peters expressed the belief that because of video games and the Internet, mass shootings have “become almost an act of self-actualization that is semi-approved by society,” before adding, “I’m exaggerating.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor4/3/14]

Fox News Segment Linked Video Games To Recent Mass Shootings In Connecticut, Colorado, And Arizona. During a September 2013 segment, Fox News “Medical A-Team” member Dr. Keith Ablow compared video games to a drug that makes people violent and added, “Guns are irrelevant to this problem.” Days later in a column following the September 2013 mass shooting at Washington Navy Yard, Ablow wrote that the shooter “was also reportedly addicted to a drug — violent video games (which are no different than heroin or cocaine, but potentially more of a public health threat).” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom9/13/13, FoxNews.com, 9/17/13]

After Navy Yard Shooting, Fox News Linked Seven Mass Killers To Video Games. Fox News host Steve Doocy claimed that the gunmen responsible for six well-known mass shootings, including Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Columbine, are “all described as essentially being addicted to video games” while a graphic asked, “Link Between Teen Killers & Video Games?”

image

[Fox News, Fox & Friends9/17/13]

MENTAL HEALTH

Fox News Graphic Bizarrely Suggested The “Motive” In The Fort Hood Shootings Was “Mental Illness.” The April 4 edition of Fox & Friends made the claim that the military was eyeing “mental illness as motive,” but hours later Fort Hood’s commanding general said the shooter’s “underlying medical conditions are not a direct precipitating factor. We believe that the immediate precipitating factor was more likely an escalating argument in his unit area.”

image

[Fox News, Fox & FriendsThe Washington Post4/4/14]

After Navy Yard Shooting, Fox News Host Martha MacCallum Scapegoated People With Mental Health Conditions. While discussing the Navy Yard shooting,America’s Newsroom co-host Martha MacCallum claimed that we have “become so PC that we do not understand that there are categories of people” who need to be institutionalized. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom9/19/13]

After Columbia, Maryland Mall Shooting, Fox News Psychiatrist Said “It Isn’t The Gun” Before Baselessly Speculating About Shooter’s Mental State. When discussing the motive of the shooter at the Columbia mall on Fox News, Keith Ablow said, “It isn’t the gun. We have a crisis in terms of mental health care.” [Fox News, America’s News HQ1/27/14 via Media Matters]

One Year After Newtown, Frequent Fox Guest Ann Coulter Claimed That Mass Shootings “Correlate With Not Locking Up Crazy People.” In a December 2013 column on her website, Coulter wrote that mass shootings “correlate with not locking up crazy people,” then added, “Fixating on guns after a crazy person commits mass murder is like draining the ocean to find a ring you dropped.” [Ann Coulter, 12/18/13]

LIBERALS AND POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

After Fort Hood Shooting, Fox News Graphic Linked Attack To “Culture War.” During a discussion of the Fort Hood shooting, a Fox & Friends graphic linked the shooting to the “culture war” and asked, “Are Mass Shootings Result Of Changed Society?”

image

[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/4/14]

After Navy Yard Shooting, Conservative Media Falsely Blamed Shooting On Clinton-Era Policy. Even though the policy regulating when and where guns can be carried on military bases was created during the George H.W. Bush administration, Rush Limbaugh and other members of the conservative media used their mistaken belief about when the policy was created to attack President Clinton after the Navy Yard shooting. [Media Matters9/17/13]

After Sandy Hook Shooting, Rush Limbaugh Claimed That Mass Shooters Are All Liberals Before Saying, “I Take That Back.” Before taking it back, radio host Rush Limbaugh said of mass shooters, “[t]hey all are liberals. If they’re mentally disturbed,” when discussing the Sandy Hook shooting. Additionally, Fox News host Mike Huckabee said the shooting happened because “we have systematically removed God from our schools,” NRA board member Ted Nugent blamed the shooting on “politically correct culture,” and a National Review Online writer said the attack was caused by a “feminized setting.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show12/21/12, Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto12/14/12Media Matters12/19/12]

After Virginia Tech Shooting, Conservative Commentators Blamed Mass Shooting On “The Wussification Of America” And “A General Culture Of Passivity.” On Fox News, conservative writer Mark Steyn said “part of the problem” that led to the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 “is a general culture of passivity.” Then-conservative talk radio host Neal Boortz invoked “the wussification of America” when discussing the behavior of the victims of the shooting. [Fox News, Your World4/19/07 via Media MattersMedia Matters,4/18/07]

NOT ENOUGH GUNS

After Fort Hood Shooting, Fox News Host Martha MacCallum Suggested That “Lives Could Have Been Saved” With More Armed Individuals. On the April 3 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum claimed, “in every one of these cases, what stops these shooters, is another person with a gun who stops them. I mean, we know that. So in this case, if other people had been armed on that base … it’s highly possible that some of these lives could have been saved.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom4/3/14]

After Navy Yard Shooting Conservative Commentators Falsely Characterized Facility As A “Gun-Free Zone” That Invited Attack. Even though guns can be carried on military bases by authorized persons, MacCallum, Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich, and CNN host S.E. Cupp all suggested that easier availability of guns in the Navy Yard facility could have prevented the shooting. [Media Matters,9/16/13]

After Aurora Movie Theater Shooting, Glenn Beck Claimed Shooter “Wouldn’t Have Gotten Off More Than Four Shots” If Armed Individuals Present. Talk radio host Glenn Beck claimed of the movie theater shooting in Colorado, “If people had a gun in their back and they were — and they were licensed to carry it, that guy wouldn’t have gotten off more than four shots.” His guest Ted Nugent added, “But dear God in heaven, doing nothing is not an option. Training, having a firearm to neutralize an evil gun maniac is a way to go, and we train for that. And I wish I would have been in the theater that day.” [The Blaze, The Glenn Beck Program7/26/12, via Media Matters]

h/t: Timothy Johnson at MMFA

In a stunning exercise in false equivalence, Fox News accused CBS News of maintaining a disciplinary double standard after it suspended correspondent Lara Logan for her botched 60 Minutes Benghazi report but continues to employ an analyst that Fox erroneously suggested was part of a Benghazi talking points conspiracy to provide political cover to President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

On April 2, according to ABC News, former CIA deputy director, Michael Morell testied again before the House Intelligence Committee regarding the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

Fox News used today’s hearing as a launching point to spin its latest already-debunked Benghazi conspiracy, hosting Lt. Tony Schaffer on the April 2 edition of Fox & Friends to push allegations that Morell deliberately omitted the truth about the Benghazi attacks from talking points later used by the administration in return for a consulting position with a firm ostensibly close to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

Fox used the trumped up allegation to call for Morell’s suspension from his position as an analyst for CBS, citing suspended CBS correspondent Lara Logan’s botched and retracted 60 Minutes Benghazi report as a comparison. Fox co-host Steve Doocy accused CBS of maintaining a “crazy double standard” for disciplining Logan but not Morell:

DOOCY: Also what’s interesting is Mike Morell also works for CBS. He’s a consultant. Lara Logan, as you will recall, was fired or suspended from 60 Minutes for simply interviewing somebody who told a story that was not accurate. 

[…] 

Mike Morell is a consultant an analyst on CBS and it looks like he lied to congress. It looks like CBS has got a crazy double standard.

Doocy’s attempt to equate a Fox conspiracy theory about Morell’s actions and motivations with Logan’s now-infamous breaches of ethics and journalistic standards is staggering, as the two circumstances bear no resemblance. The allegations against Morrell have been repeatedly debunked, while Logan’s 60 Minutesreport on Benghazi that featured questionable source, Dylan Davies, whose credibility has since crumbled, led to an internal investigation resulting in the retraction of the report, an apology from Logan, and the subsequent leave of absence of Logan and her producer, Max McClellan. 

This most recent groundless attack from Fox will surely be added to the network’s Benghazi hoax parade to push for further costly hearings into the tragedy.

h/t: Michelle Leung at MMFA

Fox News used a misleading report from an anti-immigrant organization to baselessly claim the Obama administration is now releasing immigrants who have been convicted of rape and murder. In fact, those crimes, classified as Level 1 offenses by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), are automatically subject to deportation.

On March 31, the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies reported that in 2013, ICE released nearly 68,000 immigrants who had been convicted of some type of crime. According to CIS, that number represented 35 percent of all immigrants convicted of a crime that CIS had come into contact with in 2013. CIS did not describe the specific crimes these immigrants had been convicted of but nevertheless concluded that the “release of so many convicted criminals back into U.S. communities, when they could be removed to their home countries, is a large-scale abuse of authority that inevitably leads to public harm.”

Fox News seized on the report to repeatedly argue that the Obama administration “is destabilizing the nation by allowing hordes of dangerous illegal aliens to invade the country,” as Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes put it.

Fox hosts have since escalated those claims, asserting that immigrants who were released were those convicted of rape and murder, even though the CIS report makes no such claim.

On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy stated: “That’s kind of scary that we released close to 70,000 people who had criminal convictions. I know some of them were drunk driving, but they did include murder in some cases and rape as well. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.” Guest Jessica Vaughan, CIS’ director of policy studies, replied: “Well, ICE has not released all the details on the exact crimes that these people are associated with, but it is concerning that interior immigration enforcement has deteriorated.”

Later on America’s Newsroom, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs noted that CIS is a “restrictionist advocacy group” “and therefore you have to take their numbers with a grain of salt.” But Dobbs went on to push the same wild claim, saying that “some” of the immigrants released were found to be guilty of crimes “running up to rape, murder and far down as taking off.”

In fact, any immigrant — legal or undocumented — who has been convicted of an aggravated felony such as rape or murder is automatically subject to deportation, without the benefit of a court hearing.

As the Washington Post explained:

Immigrants convicted of such crimes are automatically required to be detained by federal immigration authorities after they’re released from criminal custody and can then be summarily deported without a hearing before a judge. Aggravated felons are also ineligible for asylum or reprieve from deportation by a change due to family hardship, and they’re prohibited from ever returning to the United States without special permission from the government. (Permanent residents are granted a hearing, but the judge still has limited authority to prevent deportation.)

ICE describes such aggravated felonies as Level 1 offenses and they can include “major drug offenses, national security crimes, and violent crimes such as murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and kidnapping.”

In a memo outlining the Secure Communities deportation program, the Department of Homeland Securityacknowledged that immigrants convicted of such crimes were a “priority” for deportation:

ICE is committed to identifying aliens convicted of serious criminal offenses who are subject to removal in all three category levels, with a priority assigned on the basis of risk to individuals convicted of Level 1 offenses. ICE continues to exercise discretion through its field offices in taking enforcement action in cases of aliens convicted of Level 2 and 3 offenses as each situation demands. At no time shall this MOA be construed to limit the discretion of ICE in managing detention resources.

However, as the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse has documented, an “aggravated felony” for purposes of immigration law can include many crimes that “have been interpreted by federal courts to include misdemeanors, even though misdemeanors are generally meant to encompass less serious or dangerous acts than crimes traditionally designated as felonies.” An Immigration Policy Center fact-sheet on aggravated felonies shows that the definition “covers more than thirty types of offenses, including simple battery, theft, filing a false tax return, and failing to appear in court.”

After analyzing the CIS report, the American Immigration Council wrote:

The report would have us believe that the federal government is knowingly letting tens of thousands of violent foreign-born criminals go free. It’s certainly a sensational claim, but it has no basis in reality. CIS distorts the numbers, and stereotypes immigrants — all in an attempt to cast doubt on the practice of “prosecutorial discretion” by immigration-enforcement agents.

AIC went on to note that the “claim in the CIS report that ICE has simply chosen to ‘release’ 68,000 ‘criminal aliens’ through the exercise of ‘prosecutorial discretion’ is inaccurate. Being released by ICE is not the equivalent of being set free. It often means being released with an ankle bracelet or under an order of supervision, or issued a notice to appear in court.”

ICE has also disputed the CIS report, noting that in “Fiscal Year 2013 the agency removed 216,000 convicted criminals” and that the “percentage of criminals removed continues to rise.” ICE continued: ”Nearly 60 percent of ICE’s total removals had been previously convicted of a criminal offense, and that number rises to 82 percent for individuals removed from the interior of the US. The removal of criminal individuals is and will remain ICE’s highest priority.” Indeed, ICE totals from the past few years show that the number of immigrants with Level 1 offenses who were deported has gone from about 3,400 in 2009 to to nearly 29,000 in 2013. 

Vaughan, who wrote the CIS report, claimed today that the critics who have denounced her findings “neither detracts from or changes the fundamental truth that ICE is taking a pass on huge numbers of illegal aliens located by ICE officers, including an alarming number of criminal aliens.”

Fox News has repeatedly tried to discredit the Obama administration’s enforcement record even as data show that 30 percent of all federal convictions in 2012 were for immigration offenses, the second-highest conviction behind drug offenses.

h/t: SOLANGE UWIMANA at MMFA

mediamattersforamerica:

March Madness on Fox: network airs a Nebraska candidate’s “Constitutional Madness Brackets” with many scandals that Fox has dutifully reported on. 

thepoliticalfreakshow:

A Fox News host compared the search for a missing airliner to the conservative network’s never-ending examination of the Benghazi massacre.

After showing reactions by family members of passengers aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 on Thursday evening’s “The Five,” host Kimberly Guilfoyle imagined what they must be going through.

“Imagine if you’re one of those family members and you know that another country has the means, has the ability, has the economic wherewithal to actually get this investigation going in the right direction,” she said, “where you can get some answers for these poor people, how frustrating. It’s like having a cure for a disease and you just can’t reach out and take it.”

Co-host Andrea Tantaros agreed.

“Watching the footage, and watching the footage of that Malaysian woman that was being played over and over last night, it’s just so sad,” Tantaros said. “But think how long it took for them to get this kind of media attention. Living in Malaysia, the government seemingly ignored these people, they didn’t want their stories to get out, they weren’t talking to them.”

She warned co-host Bob Beckel, the show’s Democratic foil, to plug his ears with his fingers.

“They were saying, ‘No one has come to my house, no one has told me what has happened,” Tantaros said. “Bob, get ready, put these in your ears. Feels like the families of Benghazi, just saying. And we’re better than that.”

Watch this video clip of the exchange posted online by OnlyPlaceForNews:

liberalsarecool:

FOX and conservative media have “binary Obama criticism fatigue”. Their narrative has zero objectivity.

Fox News “Medical A-Team” member Dr. Keith Ablow attributed Russian president Valdimir Putin’s decision to invade Crimea in part “to the psychology of Barack Obama.” 

In a March 11 FoxNews.com column, Ablow claimed that Putin’s motivations should not be dismissed as those of a “simple thug,” but rather that “Putin’s psychology is being directly fueled by that of President Barack Obama.” Ablow criticized Obama as unwilling to assert both personal and nationalistic power, arguing that “Barack Obama apparently believes he was placed on this earth to be the most powerful person he can be, in order to restrain America in the expression of its power.”

Ablow went on to imply that Obama’s domestic policy was the catalyst for Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine:

How then could Vladimir Putin fail to notice the remarkable presence on the world stage of an American counterpart (Barack Obama) who is as interested as he is in disempowering the United States? How could he fail to act on the remarkable symmetry of such a moment in history? To not test the possibility that God intends him to be the instrument of a new world order, based on Russia’s manifest destiny, would be contrary to every fiber in his being.

To go further, I do not believe that Vladimir Putin would miss the fact that Barack Obama has imperiled the notion of individual autonomy (by seeking to disarm Americans, by seeking to make Americans dependent on unemployment checks and food stamps and by making it officially impossible to choose how to spend your own money, via the Affordable Care Act). Since giving each individual the right to power is not the goal of this American President, why would Putin believe that taking power from others would be opposed vigorously by this President’s Administration?

Ablow concluded that “If Crimea becomes part of Russia or all of Ukraine does,” Putin and Obama’s psychology will share the blame equally.

h/t: Sophia Tesfaye at MMFA

Fox News host Mike Huckabee denied responsibility for shady email pitches sent to subscribers to his email list, telling Media Matters that he is “simply a conduit to send messages” and “can’t always vouch for the veracity” of the promoted products.

Huckabee is part of the conservative movement’s attempts to cash in on their followers by renting out their email lists to suspect sources. Fox News contributor Scott Brown was recently forced to disown a quack doctor after he sent a sponsored email touting the doctor’s dubious Alzheimer’s disease cures. Huckabee also sent emails promoting the doctor.

During a press conference held at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside Washington, Media Matters asked Huckabee about shady sponsored emails he’s sent with his name on it, such as the Alzheimer’s disease emails. 

Huckabee shrugged off responsibility for the emails, saying “You are supposed to read the disclosure and the disclaimer that is a part of the messages. We are simply the conduit to send messages, these are sponsored and I can’t always vouch for the veracity.”

Huckabee’s sketchy sponsored emails extend beyond questionable medical cures. He recently sent a sponsored email touting the stock recommendation of a financial analyst who was fired from Fox News for ethical violations.

Huckabee sent an email on February 14 from “Fox News alumnus” Tobin Smith and “our paid sponsor, Champlain Media” about “important information” regarding the stock of Gray Fox Petroleum (GFOX).Huckabee’s message added that the sponsorship does “not necessarily reflect my views.” A Smith-penned message implored readers to “Buy shares of GFOX now while you can still get them at around $1.00 and you could… TURN $10,000 INTO $282,000 in the next 6 months!”

Tobin Smith is so disreputable that he was fired from Fox News — no small feat — for receiving compensation to promote a company stock, a violation of network policy. Smith engages in “sponsored research,” in which companies hire analysts like Smith to act as pitchmen. MarketWatch’s Chuck Jaffee noted that people like Smith take “money to help small stocks find a market using fluff-and-shine hyperbolic chatter” and target “novice investors who fail to do due diligence.”

Small print in the Huckabee email states that the email is part of a “paid advertising” campaign “by Tobin Smith” and “Cenad Ltd. has paid $155,040.88 for the dissemination of this info to enhance public awareness for GFOX.” It also adds that Smith “has received twenty thousand dollars for this and related marketing materials.” It is not clear how much Huckabee received for the email dissemination, though a MikeHuckabee.com card states that his list has 700,000 subscribers and charges $27.50 per thousand emails, with a “300,000 NAME MINIMUM ORDER $1,000.00 MINIMUM PAYMENT.”

While it is too early to know how GFOX will perform, Huckabee fans should be cautious about taking the advice. In addition to the investing dangers of sponsored research, a Media Matters review last year found that Smith regularly pitched lofty stock price targets which weren’t met. For instance, Smith recommended in January 2013 that readers buy the stock of Boldface Group “at less than 50-cents, and you could … Turn $10,000 into $50,000 in the next 6-12 months!” It’s now trading at one cent.

Fox News helps grow Huckabee’s email list, as the former Republican governor regularly promotes MikeHuckabee.com on his weekly program. When visitors reach the page, they’re immediately asked to sign-up for his list. In other words, Huckabee is growing his email list through Fox News, and then selling access to that list so hucksters like Tobin Smith can target his Fox fans.

As Salon’s Alex Pareene noted, “the conservative movement is an elaborate moneymaking venture. For professional movement conservatives, their audiences and followers are easy marks.” 

H/T: Eric Hanaoki and Joe Strupp at MMFA

Conservative Newsmax Media is reportedly set to launch its own 24-hour cable news channel in June. According to a Bloomberg Businessweek profile of Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy, “NewsmaxTV” will position itself as a “kinder, gentler” version of Fox News.

Ruddy tells Bloomberg that the channel’s goal “is to be a little more boomer-oriented, more information-based rather than being vituperative and polarizing.” That Ruddy sees an opening for a conservative outlet that is less aggressively partisan than Fox is a good indication of how far to the right that channel has veered during the Obama administration. It’s also somewhat surprising, given Ruddy’s personal history.

As the profile lays out, Ruddy cut his teeth in the 90’s pushing conspiracy theories about the Clintons, particularly the outlandish claim that they may have been involved in the death of White House Counsel Vince Foster. (Ruddy has since moderated his views, and the article reports he has ”become friends” with the Clintons and may support a potential Hillary Clinton presidential run in 2016.)

Newmax’s website and magazine are definitely less off-the-rails than some of their rivals, but the company isn’t exactly The New York Times. For example, though Ruddy conceded that there was “no evidence” President Obama wasn’t born in the United States, Newsmax nonetheless gave oxygen to the baseless speculation and conspiracies about the president’s birth certificate.

It has also helped prop up perhaps the most public birther, Donald Trump, and the ongoing farce of his plans to run for political office, including his imaginary 2012 presidential run and 2014 New York gubernatorial bid. (Newsmax even tapped Trump to moderate a Republican primary debate in 2011, but that event fell apart after most of the candidates expressed discomfort with Trump running a debate while he was still pretending he might run for president.) 

Isn’t there at least two US-based conservative alternatives to FNC already? TheBlazeTV and One America News Network. A third is coming soon. 

h/t: Ben Dimiero at MMFA

Fox News promoted an effort to ban Isabel Allende’s award-winning novel The House of The Spirits, thanking a North Carolina mother for a “keeping up the good fight” and using her campaign to lob yet another off-base attack at the Common Core educational standards.  

On the March 3 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck reported that “parents are outraged over a new book being assigned to their high school students containing references to abortion and prostitution,” and was quick to tie the book to the Common Core educational standards — falsely labeling them the “Common Core classroom curriculum.” She welcomed North Carolina mother Chastity Lesesne on to discuss.

The campaign to censor The House of The Spirits in North Carolina’s Watauga County school district has sparked national scrutiny in recent weeks. As Michael Keegan, president of the free speech advocacy organization People for The American Way noted, Lesesne’s censorship attempt ignores that “The House of Spirits is an internationally renowned work that is taught in high school Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs throughout the country.” Chris Brook, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union-NC Legal Foundation, also warned of the “the slippery slope of banning books that promote critical thinking and classroom dialogue” and urged district officials to vote “in favor of the freedom to read.”

[…]

What Fox doesn’t seem to understand is that Common Core is a set of standards that define the proficiency levels students should reach at the end of each grade. It is not, as Hasselbeck claims, a “classroom curriculum” and does not mandate how those standards should be reached. Instead, Common Core leaves decisions about classroom content to the states. As the Common Core State Standards Initiative explains:

Myth: These Standards amount to a national curriculum for our schools.

Fact: The Standards are not a curriculum. They are a clear set of shared goals and expectations for what knowledge and skills will help our students succeed. Local teachers, principals, superintendents and others will decide how the standards are to be met. Teachers will continue to devise lesson plans and tailor instruction to the individual needs of the students in their classrooms.

From the 03.03.2014 edition of FNC’s Fox and Friends:

H/T: Ellie Sandmeyer at MMFA

Within hours of University of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam, an NFL prospect, coming out as gay, Fox News’ Todd Starnes had an apology for his readers:

I owe all of you a massive apology. I thought the Olympics was about athletic competition — not advancing a cultural agenda. I was wrong.

I thought the NFL was about football — not advancing a cultural agenda. I was wrong.

I should’ve learned my lesson after the Rose Bowl Parade and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It’s all about advancing a cultural agenda — no matter the cost.

We are no longer allowed to have fun and enjoy sports or entertainment programs. How sad.

As if it’s a bad thing to expose and fight against the rampant homophobia in Sochi, where a national law makes it “illegal to disseminate information [about homosexuality] to children even if it merely shows that gay people are just like everybody else.”

As if it’s a bad thing for the leaders of a sport that’s virtually synonymous with “manliness” to issue a statement that includes the line, “Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the N.F.L.” suggesting that they will not hold a player’s sexual orientation against him or allow any bullying or intimidation because of it.

None of this “advances a cultural agenda.” None of this “promotes” homosexuality.

Todd Starnes, quit yer fucking whining and get over it! 

h/t: Hemant Mehta at The Friendly Atheist