Fox News Host Opens a Can of Worms

Reblogged from EmancipationConversation…

Film provocateur, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is temporarily a right-wing martyr to free speech, though when it all sorts out might turn out to be more hustler than hero. Still, the picture of him covering his face as he leaves his house under the protection of police officers makes a good visual…

Nakoula is reportedly fearful for his life after the film generated widespread outrage in the Middle East and has prompted anti-American violence in numerous countries. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last week.

Deputies picked up Nakoula at his Cerritos home on behalf of federal probation officials shortly after midnight on Saturday. Nakoula was whisked away by a waiting car, his identity shrouded by a white scarf covering his face. He wore a heavy winter coat and kept his hands in his pockets.

A U.S. Courts spokeswoman said Friday that federal probation officials were reviewing whether Nakoula, who was convicted on bank fraud charges, violated terms of his probation in relation to the video and its uploading onto the Internet.

Fox News got into it, and host Eric Bolling tried to change President Obama’s religion for him. They’re always doing that. They haven’t figured out yet that the liberal Christians of the United Church of Christ are way scarier than Muslims. Dare to attend their Coffee Hour and you will know what I’m talking about…

BOLLING (co-host): Can we throw that picture up of the filmmaker again? When he’s all, like, in disguise and the cops are leading him out? To me, America changed. I —

DANA PERINO (co-host): Yeah, I agree.

GRED GUTFELD (co-host): Yeah.

BOLLING: Someone emailed that picture la– Mark Levin, actually, sent it to me. He goes, “Take a look at this.” America changed at that moment. To use a — what is being called a flimsy ploy to bring this guy in for questioning —

PERINO: What next?

BOLLING: — proves that the Obama administration, through all this appeasement and apologizing, answers to the Quran first and to the Constitution second.

I’d love to see a reporter ask Mitt Romney if he answers to the Book of Mormon first and the Constitution second. I’d love to see that type of question put to all our politicians. I think President Obama would be able to say that he answers to the Constitution in his service as President and the Bible in his personal religious convictions. It’s called separation of church and state.

I wonder how many of the politicians who use God to get votes would be able to handle that without stuttering? I once saw Sen.Harold Metts testify in the State House against marriage equality with a Bible in his hand. He was waving it. Really. This was a pretty clear message that he has no problem with using his office to promote his religion, and if you don’t follow his religion you can just move out of his district.

Come to think of it, that’s why there’s a Rhode Island. The Puritans told Roger Williams not to let the door hit him on the way out. History shows that when a state establishes an official religion, the religious start purging and persecuting dissidents among their own. It may have something to do with power politics and human nature.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula threw gasoline on a fire from the safety of his home in the USA, not caring who got hurt. He gave cover to violent anti-US extremists so they could carry out their political attacks under the cover of religion. Free speech doesn’t mean a free pass from criticism for lack of responsibility. Or for that matter, gratuitous insult.

I was raised Catholic, back when nuns wore habits. They told us stories about priests who ran into burning churches to save the Holy Host. To profane this little white wafer would be a sin unthinkable. But heretics and evil-doers were everywhere, so each of us must be prepared to defend the Faith, with our lives if need be.

Different religions have symbols they hold in reverence. From a humanistic perspective, I would not disrespect anyone’s religious practices. Or tell anyone their grand kid was funny-looking. Why be needlessly hurtful and offensive? This is bad policy in social relations.

In Democracy our elected representatives should be fair to all and favor none. So I’d love to see Fox ask each one of them if they serve the Constitution, or their religion first. Those who serve their religion should abandon politics and follow their true calling as clergy.

New App Measures News Bias

I wonder how Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network news would rate on this? A new app takes the labor out of counting word use on network news. From Reuters, today…

Ever wanted to know how biased Fox News and CNN really are? A new OS X app called News Mapper helps you to find out by making the program of both cable news networks real-time searchable. Users can, for example, search for uses of politically charged vocabulary like Obamacare or mentions of embattled media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and the app displays the frequency with which each word was mentioned in a graph that gets updated in real time as the news coverage continues.

Users can then click on the time line and browse small snippets of transcripts from each network, revealing the context in which a word was used. News Mapper even generates tag clouds for the most commonly mentioned words on CNN and Fox News.

Bias is quantifiable, this app will appeal to news junkies and generate many colorful charts and graphs to illuminate blogs. Cool.

But where is it? I found News Map which is colorful and looks like fun. I’ll have to find a kid to explain all this to me.

The Plot Thickens

Today’s New York Times reports that Murdoch News of the World lieutenant Rebekah Brooks has been arrested.

A police statement did not identify her by name but said a 43-year-old woman had been detained for questioning by officers investigating both the phone-hacking scandal and payments made to corrupt police officers. A News International official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Ms. Brooks had been arrested.

Britain’s Press Association news agency said she was arrested by appointment at a London police station at approximately midday and remains in custody.

Hacking, bribery and maybe some blackmail? The Darth Vader of Murdoch’s Media Empire might have to defend her paper’s tactics in getting the story cheap and dirty.

I don’t think a corporation is a person, or a conglomeration is a family– though they like to describe themselves that way. Fox News is showing a kind of family loyalty by soft-peddling this story. If they share the corporate culture of News of the World then Fox deserves a closer look.

UPDATE: The London Chief of Police has resigned for doing nothing wrong except hiring a former executive from News of the World to guard the henhouse do publicity for the force..

Goodbye Cruel ‘World’

Thanks to Alexander Cockburn on CounterPunch for this link to the British newspaper, The Guardian that explains why the Murdoch phone hacking scandal is so incredibly evil that even the Brits don’t think it’s funny…

Scotland Yard is now investigating evidence that the paper hacked directly into the voicemail of the missing girl’s own phone. As her friends and parents called and left messages imploring Milly to get in touch with them, the News of the World was listening and recording their every private word.

But the journalists at the News of the World then encountered a problem. Milly’s voicemail box filled up and would accept no more messages. Apparently thirsty for more information from more voicemails, the paper intervened – and deleted the messages that had been left in the first few days after her disappearance. According to one source, this had a devastating effect: when her friends and family called again and discovered that her voicemail had been cleared, they concluded that this must have been done by Milly herself and, therefore, that she must still be alive. But she was not. The interference created false hope and extra agony for those who were misled by it.

The Dowler family then granted an exclusive interview to the News of the World in which they talked about their hope, quite unaware that it had been falsely kindled by the newspaper’s own intervention. Sally Dowler told the paper: “If Milly walked through the door, I don’t think we’d be able to speak. We’d just weep tears of joy and give her a great big hug.”

The deletion of the messages also caused difficulties for the police by confusing the picture when they had few leads to pursue. It also potentially destroyed valuable evidence.

According to one senior source familiar with the Surrey police investigation: “It can happen with abduction murders that the perpetrator will leave messages, asking the missing person to get in touch, as part of their efforts at concealment. We need those messages as evidence. Anybody who destroys that evidence is seriously interfering with the course of a police investigation.”

Kind of like cannibalism– or maybe like a cold-blooded type who ransacks your house and then sells you back some of your stuff they ‘found in the woods’. No, it’s like cannibalism. Playing with the emotions of desperate parents and then getting them on film. Someone might go to jail. Not Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corporation, the international media empire whose holdings include Fox News. He’s blaming a few bad apples, firing scores of people who had nothing to do with the scandal and mobilizing his Plan B for global media dominance.

If you think you might miss sensational news coverage without the tabs, Salon has a video interpretation, from Taiwan, with subtitles and animated superhero action.

Words Matter

Jack Shafer on asks what’s wrong with a little change of terms, from ‘public option’ to ‘government option’?

I think it’s the pronunciation. From between clenched teeth Fox reports on the ‘gummint option’ that the ‘democrat party’ is trying to impose on all the good Americans who are proudly holding out until they are allowed into Medicare (don’t touch it!) and hoping they don’t stroke out first.

I mean, if everyone knows what you mean, what difference does it make how you say it?

Well, I’m off to give some gummint socialist health care to some feeble grannies who live on welfare social security. No offense, right?

Who Said That?

And why? And what is their spin?

In my travels around nursing homes and apartments there’s always the glowing hearth of a big TV, usually tuned on to news. Several times I’ve heard a newscaster say some really bizarre things, like plaintively moaning about how the ‘death tax’ will bankrupt the heirs of folks whose remaining assets are a stack of food stamps and a needlepoint Kleenex box cover. Then I realize it’s not news, it’s the 700 Club. (this is not a hypothetical)

And then there’s Fox.

This will come as a shock to you, I know, but there’s now pretty much incontrovertible evidence that FOX News is little more than a propaganda unit of the GOP, a leaked e-mail in which Fox News’s Washington managing editor Bill Sammon issued a memo directing his news staff not to use the phrase “public option.”

Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox’s reporters should use “government option” and similar phrases — wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats’ reform efforts….

Sources familiar with the situation in Fox’s Washington bureau have told Media Matters that Sammon uses his position as managing editor to “slant” Fox’s supposedly neutral news coverage to the right. Sammon’s “government option” email is the clearest evidence yet that Sammon is aggressively pushing Fox’s reporting to the right — in this case by issuing written orders to his staff.

So reporters were ordered to use language mandated by a ‘top Republican pollster’ when ‘reporting’ the news? I think there is little difference between Fox and the 700 Club ‘news’. They share some audience, and a willingness to use religion for profit and political gain.

Now, more than ever, you have to consider the source. Sites like ours are openly partial. News monopolies like Fox, that pretend to be objective while taking direction from political operatives are a form of air pollution, and have to be filtered.

This is Just Wrong

I hate Christmas as much as anyone, but this is taking the war too far. What about the truce in that Snoopy song? Is there any justification for starting and getting personal on Christmas Eve?

Radio hosts Matt Fox and A.J. Rice created a racist parody of Jose Feliciano’s ‘Feliz Navidad’ called ‘Illegals in my Yard’ that was posted on conservative website ‘Human Events’. Conservatives love this stuff I guess. Jose Feliciano didn’t love it so much…

“When I wrote and composed ‘Feliz Navidad,’ I chose to sing in both English and Spanish in order to create a bridge between two wonderful cultures during the time of year in which we hope for goodwill toward all,” the Puerto Rico-born singer said.

You can’t have goodwill getting started at Christmas. You have to be pumped up to bark at teenage store clerks who are probably wondering by now what it is safe to wish you. Holiday, Christmas, Hanukkah, Epiphany, Festivus… Perhaps it is better to keep silent.

A soft answer turneth away wrath, says an old book. A graceful apology can do much to repair social damage says Miss Manners. But what on earth is this?

“We regret any offense that Mr. Feliciano may have taken from this parody,” [web site editor Jed] Babbin said in an e-mail sent to The Associated Press.

That’s not an apology. For younger readers who have never heard an actual apology, let me clarify. Babbin never apologized. He did not say to Mr. Feliciano, “I’m sorry we trashed your song”. He sent an email to a third party, Associated Press, regretting that they couldn’t have their joke uninterrupted by the guy whose song they stole and violated. I think that Miss Manners would have smiled serenely and slipped the latch on the mastiff pen.

I don’t know anything about Messrs Fox, Rice or Babbin. What little I know makes me wonder if they were raised by ignorant and incompetent parents or were just unteachable. No offense intended. Sensitive, aren’t they?

It must feel pretty safe from where they are. They can throw gratuitous and unprovoked insults at random groups of people who just might vote in 2010.

Don’t take anything for granted. Remember Florida in 2000, when Americans came to the polls and were turned away because a corrupt Secretary of State hired a consulting firm to purge the voting list. This is not Selma in 1965 but the battle is not won. The price of Liberty is eternal vigilance. Secure your vote, and then use it. Voting is not just a right, it’s a duty.

Historical Context: Via Talk to Action– The Calvinist Scots knew how to fight the irreligious decadents who would profane the sacred meaning of Christmas. They’d use your tree for kindling and toss you in jail while they fed your plum pudding to the pigs. You’d spend the holy day sitting on a hard wooden pew in an unheated church and learn to like it.