Conservatives' Media - A perpetual dishonesty machine

Discussion in 'Politics' started by hermit, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh regularly tout their supposed accuracy and often claim their critics never prove them wrong. Fittingly, this in itself is a complete falsehood. Limbaugh and Beck are wrong for a living, but have been rewarded for their perpetual wrongness by assuming the role of the two most important cogs in the conservative media.

    Every day, the conservative noise machine -- Fox News, Beck, Limbaugh, and other prominent conservative talk radio hosts and bloggers -- hurl false accusations with the hopes of damaging the Obama administration, Democrats, and progressives politically. Make no mistake: this is the primary motivation for the majority of the stories they promote. Pesky things like "facts" and "reality" are, at best, a trivial concern.

    Often, these attacks are baseless, easily debunked, and laughably absurd -- yet conservative media outlets rarely (if ever) offer corrections when they are proven wrong. Instead they either double down on their attacks or simply ignore that they were wrong in the first place and move on to the next overhyped bit of nonsense.

    While it may seem like a minor story in the grand scheme of things, one example from this week perfectly exemplifies the utter lack of journalistic standards endemic to conservative media.

    Early this week, conservatives were in their usual panic mode over what they claimed was evidence that the Obama administration "backed" or "preferred" the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the terrorist better known as the Lockerbie bomber. As we pointed out, reports -- often the same reports these conservatives were linking to in order to make their arguments -- indicated that the administration wanted Megrahi to "remain imprisoned in view of the nature of the crime."

    Fox News twisted reality to claim that the "U.S. Backed Freedom, Not Prison, for Bomber." Matt Drudge splashed a huge headline across his website announcing that the "White House Backed Release Of Lockerbie Bomber." Pam Geller -- whose deranged rantings have earned her frequent appearances on Fox News and bylines on Andrew Breitbart's "Big" websites, Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller, and the American Thinker -- called for a "special investigation" and a "charge of treason" for Obama.

    Rush Limbaugh -- while bragging, as he often does, that he was "executing assigned host duties flawlessly" with "zero mistakes" --claimed that Obama "backed the release" of the Lockerbie bomber because he wanted to "make nice with the Muslim world."

    Late Monday, when the State Department released the administration's correspondence with the Scottish Ministry of Justice, it confirmed in unambiguous terms that the administration was "not prepared to support Megrahi's release on compassionate release or bail," and that "it would be most appropriate for Megrahi to remain imprisoned for the entirety of his sentence." They stipulated if he were to be released, he should remain in Scotland rather than risk him receiving an "extremely inappropriate" "welcoming reception" upon being transferred to Libya.

    So, after this story completely fell apart, did conservative media figures correct the record and let their readers/listeners/viewers know that the administration did not "support" or "prefer" the release of the Lockerbie bomber?

    Of course not.

    Conservative blogger Jim Hoft -- whose ongoing popularity and influence in conservative media says a lot about their complete indifference to accuracy and credibility -- linked to the letter and proclaimed that the administration "preferred" his release. This was akin to pointing at the ground and saying "this is the sky."

    Fox Nation, almost 48 hours after the story had completely fallen apart, still had the following headline and image on their front page:

    And you can be sure that in a few months, whenever Sean Hannity or anyone else in the noise machine decides to twist a news story to claim that the Obama administration is "weak on terror," they'll point to the time the administration supposedly "preferred the release of the Lockerbie bomber" in order to buttress their point.

    It's a perpetual dishonesty machine.

    If this were an isolated incident, perhaps it would be possible to (partially) excuse conservative media outlets for their shameless performance "covering" this story. But as we detailed this week, the right-wing media routinely promote fake stories (for example, the epic freak-out over the imaginary Obama proposal to "ban sport fishing.")

    For another good example of how the perpetual dishonesty machine works, have a look at this segment from Tuesday's Fox & Friends. In it, Glenn Beck, Steve Doocy, and Peter Johnson Jr. seized on reports of the U.K. supposedly "admit[ting] its socialized health care is a mess" in order to attack health care reform. They rehashed some old favorites from conservatives' misinformation campaign about health care reform, claiming that we "modeled" reform on the British system and fear mongered about imaginary "death panels." Neither of these attacks were true when they appeared last year, they weren't true this week, and they won't be true the next time Fox's hosts bring them up.

    This pattern is undeniable, and at this point is just expected behavior for the conservative media. The larger problem is that "mainstream" outlets still frequently treat garbage from conservative media figures as newsworthy, and ombudsmen at major newspapers like The Washington Post regularly chastise their colleagues for not seizing on conservative nonsense faster.

    It says a lot about the state of the media when Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, and other prominent media conservatives can be caught pushing a blatantly false story, offer no correction, and have their behavior met with a collective shrug. Conservative media outlets retain their unfortunate power and influence over the public discourse because they are able to lie largely without consequence.

    They did it all this week, they did it all last week, and they'll do it again next week.
  2. bpcnabe


    This coming from media matters!

    Hello, kettle, this is pot....
  3. Is there any part of their column false or inaccurate?
  4. YES.

    Media Matters almost always lies and/ or takes quotes out of context. This joke of a column is no different.
  5. Which part of the column are lies or taken out of context.
  6. Don't believe the State Department and you will see the truth.
  7. I dont, but I would be happy to research any claimed inaccuracy in the column by MediaMatters as the previous posters have claimed.
  8. In the original story on this, which was quoted by one of our Perpetual Posting Machines (you can look it up to see who), it was clear in the story that the State Dept was telling Scotland in no uncertain terms what they preferred and why. The headline on the story and one self-serving quote from a Scottish official, which was taken by the story as gospel, however, was enough to get said PPM in a lather.
    I figured this would wind up being yet another right-wing lalaland fairytale based on the spin of the story and the single quote from the Scot.
    And so it was.
    Pathetically predictable, predictably idiotic, and of course, as always, wrong.
    Not that it matters. As they noted, they just go on to the next thing. Also, as you can see, if pressed, they will either deny or go into paranoid mode, which is pretty much the same thing.
  9. I think Fox got the Scotland story exactly right. As usual, Media Matters is wrong.

    In this type of diplomatic matter, tone is everything. The tone of the U.S. letter was clearly conciliatory. It was their way of saying "do whatever you want" but clinging to a shred of deniability. If it had been something obama gives a damn about, you can bet the letter would have used key phrases like "the United States strongly objects to" or "the United States would consider it a matter of grave concern if.." Instead, there was a mealy-mouthed letter saying "well, we really would prefer you let this monster hang around in Scotland(something that was never ever going to be in the cards)."

    A basic rule that will keep you pretty accurate is that Fox News is trustworthy. The mainstrem media is not. Mediamatters are a group of liars paid by George Soros to trash Fox and conservatives. They have zero credibility.
  10. And how exactly did Fox overstate Britain's, National Health woes? This story isn't from U.S. blogs or Fox News but from the mainstream British press."

    Axe falls on NHS services
    NHS bosses have drawn up secret plans for sweeping cuts to services, with restrictions on the most basic treatments for the sick and injured.

    And apparently others bedside's Fox are up in arms over Obama's shadowy appointment of Dr. Berwick. " objection came from the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Democrat Max Baucus of Montana, an Obama ally who would have led Berwick’s confirmation hearings.

    Said Baucus: “I'm troubled that, rather than going through the standard nomination process, Dr. Berwick was recess appointed. Senate confirmation of presidential appointees is an essential process prescribed by the Constitution that serves as a check on executive power and protects Montanans and all Americans by ensuring that crucial questions are asked of the nominee – and answered.’’

    Here is one of Berwick's bullet points from his infamous U.K. speech:
    Fifth, please don’t put your faith in market forces. It’s a popular idea: that Adam Smith’s invisible hand would do a better job of designing care than leaders with plans can. I do not agree. I find little evidence anywhere that market forces, bluntly used, that is, consumer choice among an array of products with competitors’ fighting it out, leads to the health care system you want and need. In the US, competition has become toxic; it is a major reason for our duplicative, supply-driven, fragmented care system. Trust transparency; trust the wisdom of the informed public; but, do not trust market forces to give you the system you need.
    #10     Jul 31, 2010