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Mar
26

Bill O’Reilly’s attempt at damage control on David Letterman’s show for his repeated exaggerations about his reporting career was premised on more falsehoods.

During an appearance on The Late Show — his first non-Fox TV interview since several stories broke exposing his pattern of embellishing his credentials as a reporter — O’Reilly sought to defend himself from criticism byfalsely suggesting that people have had to go back “38 years” to find anything to dispute. O’Reilly also suggested that his ratings received a “20 percent” boost due to the controversy. These claims are deeply dishonest: many of his remarks under scrutiny were made in the past few years and as recently as last month, and his ratings were largely flat over the month before and after the beginning of the firestorm.

During the interview, Letterman said that people have been arguing, “O’Reilly himself may have said things that were exaggerated or untrue and they had to go back, like, 30 years.” O’Reilly replied: “38 years.”

But many of O’Reilly’s tall tales about his reporting career were made in the past few years, not “38 years” ago.

  • O’Reilly repeatedly claimed to have witnessed nuns being “shot in the back of the head,” including as recently as December 2012. He later claimed he meant that he was merely shown pictures of the shootings.
  • His assertion that he’s “seen” “Irish terrorists kill and maim their fellow citizens in Belfast with bombs” was made in his 2013 book. A Fox News spokesperson later claimed he was merely shown pictures of the bombings.
  • And his claim about the danger he faced while covering the 1992 Los Angeles riots was mostly recent made in February 2015.

During the same interview, O’Reilly said that his show “got even more viewers” because of the controversy, saying that his ratings had risen “20 percent up.” O’Reilly’s claims were trumpeted by the media without scrutiny.

O’Reilly did not specify the duration of the ratings shift. But actual data shows that while O’Reilly saw a brief ratings increase immediately following the controversy as viewers tuned in to see his response, he gave back that bump almost immediately, with no longer-term change.

Media Matters looked into the show’s nightly ratings — pulled from TV Newser’s Scoreboard posts of cable news — over a nine-week period between January 19 (one month before the Mother Jones article that kicked off the O’Reilly scandal) and March 20 (one month after).

The daily ratings show a slight decline over the course of the study, and weekly averages of overall viewership and the coveted 25-to-54 demographic during the time period studied appear to be flat. There was a one-day 23-percent overall increase from his show on Friday, February 20 — the first show on which he addressed the controversy, and a night of the week that typically figures significantly lower ratings — and Monday, February 23, when he addressed the subject for the second time. But that February 20 show saw an 11-point ratings drop from the night before, further undermining O’Reilly’s argument.

Credit: Media Matters

Mar
25

On Wednesday, Glenn Beck announced to his radio audience that he is “done with the Republican Party” — again.

“I’ve made my decision” he said.  “I’m out. I’m out of the Republican Party. I am not a Republican.”

“I will not give a dime to the Republican Party. I’m out. I highly recommend – run from the Republican Party. They are not good. They ran and they said they were doing all of these great things and they were going to stand against Obamacare and illegal immigration. They set us up. They set us up. Enough is enough. They’re torpedoing the Constitution and they’re doing it knowingly. They’re taking on people like Mike Lee and Ted Cruz and they are torpedoing them, knowingly.”

This is nothing new with Beck.  He has washed his hands of the Republican Party before.

In November of 2012 he said on his radio show:

“I think the GOP is worthless.  I think the GOP is over.  I think it’s the Whig Party.”

In February of 2013 he appeared on The O’Reilly Factor where he repeated the vow to host Bill O’Reilly, saying that the establishment Republicans had let down the Tea Party faction who are the true “Constitutionalists” and that he can no longer support them.

He told O’Reilly that he and people like him had tried, in vain, to push the party toward the values espoused by the far right Tea Party faction and that they have instead attacked the Tea Party.

“They have worked against the Tea Party,” he said, “and the people who understand the Constitution and want to live by the Constitution.”

“Who are you done with?”  O’Reilly asked.

“The big government establishment Republicans,” Beck replied.

He went on to praise the far right element of the party naming people such as Mike Lee andRand Paul, saying he could support them.  He said that he hasn’t made his mind up yet aboutMarco Rubio, suggesting that there may still be hope for him in Glenn Beck world.

Watch the O’Reilly appearance in the video below.

Credit: AATTP

Mar
24

Newser reports Big Change in Finland Schools: No More ‘Subjects’

Mar
23

Newser reports Mystery ‘Sleeping’ Illness Strikes Tiny Town

Mar
22

Newser reports Burger King to Sell Whopper-Scented Cologne

Mar
21

On Saturday, Fox News panelist Jonathan Hoenig insisted to Eric Bolling that the Starbucks #RaceTogether campaign is a terrible idea because “(t)here’s no discussion needed on race in this country.”

According to Mediaite, Hoenig was appearing on Bolling’s new show, Cashin’ In when he made the remarks.

Hoenig heads the Capitalist Pig hedge fund and author of the book Greed is Good: The Capitalist Pig Guide to Investing. He is an avowed acolyte of Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy and said last year, “People should be greedy for what they want out of life and take every step to achieve it.”

On Saturday, he tore into Starbucks CEO Howard Schwartz’s plan to open a dialogue on race between Starbucks employees and customers. The idea has come under heavy criticism from liberal and conservative voices. Hoenig objects to the idea that any dialogue is needed on race in the U.S. at all.

“Eric, there is no discussion needed on race,” he said. “I resent this whole idea that America is this racist country, that we somehow have to remedy through chit-chat at Starbucks.”

To people of color, he said, “Stop identifying by your race. You’re not responsible for things that came before you, and you’re not entitled to things that came before you.”

“There’s no discussion needed on race in this country,” Hoenig insisted, before saying that “the ones who want the discussion, in my opinion, are the racists.”

Watch the video, embedded below:

Credit: Raw Story

Mar
20

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said on the March 18 edition of The O’Reilly Factor that President Obama “had nothing to do” with the killing of Osama bin Laden, but in the days following the raid, O’Reilly repeatedly gave Obama credit for ordering the attack.

During a discussion about a Playboy magazine interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney, O’Reilly said there was “not one” foreign policy accomplishment that President Obama could cite. Guest Jessica Ehrlich, a Democratic strategist, said “Osama bin Laden,” to which O’Reilly replied, “He had nothing to do with that. That was U.S. intel and the Navy SEALs taking him out. He just said ‘do it.'”

Those comments stand in stark contrast to the praise O’Reilly gave Obama in the days following the SEAL raid that killed the terrorist.

On the May 2, 2011 edition (via Nexis) of the O’Reilly Factor — the day after the raid — O’Reilly said in the course of a discussion with guest Michael Scheuer that “we do give credit to President Obama’s national security team” for the raid. Later in that episode O’Reilly characterized the operation as “a big victory” for Obama and told guest Brit Hume that “this certainly bolsters [Obama’s] resume” on national security, adding, “If you’re going to call him soft on national security or soft on terrorism, he can look at you and go, ‘Hey.'”

Fox News analyst Col. David Hunt on that same episode described the operation as “from start to finish, from the CIA standpoint, political standpoint, and obviously from a military standpoint, a perfect operation.” O’Reilly agreed, noting, “It was. It was amazing, especially when you compare it to that debacle that happened under Carter in Iran.”

The following night, May 3, O’Reilly continued to praise President Obama’s role. During a discussion with Bernie Goldberg about media coverage of the raid, O’Reilly said, “I do believe the president did a gutsy, good job on this.” He later said Obama “deserves credit” for the raid and it was a “gutsy move,” concluding that the Obama administration “did it the way they should have done it.”

O’Reilly also noted that “if the right starts attacking” Obama over the raid, “that’s just nuts.” He added that to do so would be “crazy” and “unreasonable.”

On the same episode (via Nexis), a viewer wrote in to O’Reilly and said, “Osama’s dead not because of the president, but despite him.” In response, O’Reilly said, “I believe that’s an unfair assessment.”

On May 9, O’Reilly said “There is no question Mr. Obama did the right thing, the gutsy thing in the bin Laden raid.”

It now appears that O’Reilly has questions.

Credit: Media Matters

Mar
19

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly resorted to anti-Semitic imagery in an effort to smear George Soros, describing the Jewish philanthropist and businessman as a “shadow puppet master” who “has his tentacles into political organizations.”

On the March 18 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly warned viewers that the American people have a responsibility to counter so-called “anti-capitalist violence on display” in Europe. He deplored what he claimed is “crazy left-wing economic stuff” on its way to taking root in the United States as a result of the economic agenda championed by President Obama, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and 84-year old philanthropist George Soros, whom O’Reilly declared “the most frightening of all.” He continued (emphasis added):

O’REILLY: Soros has now taken his ill-gotten gains and is financing the most radical left-wing organizations in America. He is the shadow puppet master behind corrupt far-left groups like Media Matters. Soros has his tentacles into political organizations like the Center for American Progress, which has provided operatives for the Obama administration, some of whom are now going over to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Few Americans even know who Soros is, but the 84-year old uber-leftist is behind much of the political strife in this country.

Depictions of Jewish people as “puppet masterscontrolling the government and the media are anti-Semiticstereotypes that go back decades. O’Reilly’s claim that Soros’ “tentacles” have infiltrated the upper echelons of political society is also a play on overtly anti-Semitic imagery. The white supremacist, neo-Nazi online forumStormfront.org contains a trove of examples, including a March 19, 2013 post called “The 6 Tentacles of Jewish Supremacy Revealed.” The image of a Jewish octopus engulfing the globe or ensnaring political institutions dates back to at least the 1930s, when it was a common theme in Nazi propaganda.

In 2010, then-Fox News host Glenn Beck was condemned by Jewish groups in part for using similar negative stereotypes and for accusing Soros of being a Nazi collaborator who helped “send the Jews” to “death camps.”

Credit: Media Matters

Mar
18

Fox News is fearmongering that the EPA is going to monitor the shower use of hotel guests because the agency gave a research grant to college students working on a wireless device that would allow hotels to examine guests’ shower use and encourage water conservation. Fox News portrayed this as a “Big Brother move,” despite a complete absence of evidence that the agency will actually monitor hotel guests’ water usage. Further, research into water conservation — including this project — is desperately needed as the West Coast suffers from a historic drought.

The EPA recently awarded the grant, for $15,000, to student researchers at the University of Tulsa. The EPA’s description of the grant says the device will “assist hotel guest[s] in modifying their behavior to help conserve water.”

On the March 18 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Heather Nauert reported on the story by saying, “Well, forget about taking a long, hot shower on vacation, and if you think you’re doing it in private, well, you might want to think again.” A graphic in the segment also gratuitously claimed: “EPA To Start Monitoring Showers At Hotels.”

Other right-wing media took the fearmongering even further, publishing stories with headlines like “The EPA wants to watch you in the shower” and “New EPA Proposal Would Spy On Hotel Guests In The Shower.” Rush Limbaugh baselessly warned on the March 17 edition of his radio show that if the grant is implemented, “you’re gonna have one in your house before too long.” He went on to say, “Everybody’s afraid of this administration. Everybody is. So then the EPA is gonna monitor the length of your showers — My point is, if this ever really happens, this is not gonna stop at hotels. You’re gonna have one of these in your house.”

The EPA is not going anywhere near your shower. The agency is merely supporting research that would send data on water use to a central hotel accounting system — much like a smart meter that supplies information to utilities and residents’ electricity consumption habits. The device could ultimately help companies save money as well as protect the environment. Many hotels have several conservation efforts currently in place; it makeseconomic sense to do so.

And this sort of research, which could help reduce some of the millions of gallons of potable water wasted each year by hotel guests, is urgently needed, as a great portion of the United States is experiencing devastating drought. As Fox News reported on the March 16 edition of Happening Now, the West Coast is in “desperate need of water.” Correspondent William La Jeunesse reported that snow pack and groundwater in California are “at record lows right now after four years of drought,” adding that the state “literally has one year’s supply of water left in its reservoirs,” referring to a recent warning from NASA senior water scientist Jay Famiglietti.

Famiglietti wrote in the Los Angeles Times:

[T]he public must take ownership of this issue. This crisis belongs to all of us — not just to a handful of decision-makers. Water is our most important, commonly owned resource, but the public remains detached from discussions and decisions.

Credit: Media Matters

Mar
17

Newser reports Let’s Build $8M Fake White House: Secret Service

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