Paid Lying: What Passes for Major
by Stephen Lendman
Today's major media journalism is biased,
irresponsible, sensationalist reporting that distorts, exaggerates
or misstates the truth. It's misinformation or agitprop disinformation
masquerading as fact to boost circulation, readership, viewers,
or listeners, and on vital issues lie about or suppress uncomfortable
truths to provide unqualified support for state and/or corporate
interests - to the detriment of the greater good that's always
sacrificed for profits and imperial aims.
As a result, major media sources produce
a daily propaganda diet and what Project Censored calls "junk
food news," and get most people to believe it. In their landmark
book, Manufacturing Consent, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky explained
the "propaganda model" that controls the public message
by "filter(ing)" disturbing truths, "leaving (behind)
only the cleansed residue fit to print" or air.
Today the media is in crisis and a free
and open society at risk at a time fiction substitutes for fact,
news is carefully controlled, dissent marginalized, and on-air
and print journalists support powerful interests as paid liars,
or what famed journalist George Seldes (1890 - 1995) called "prostitutes
of the press."
As a result, imperial wars are called
liberating ones. Civil liberties are suppressed for our own good.
Major topics go unaddressed or are misrepresented. Government
and business interests are endorsed wholeheartedly. America is
always called "beautiful." Beneficial social change
is considered heresy. The market works best, we're told, so let
it, and patriotism means supporting lawlessness and corporate
outlaws by shopping till we drop.
The New York Times - Its Lead Role in
Distorting and Suppressing Truth
For many decades, The Times has been the
closest thing in America to an official ministry of information
and propaganda masquerading as real news, commentary and analysis.
Its unmatched clout once got media critic
Norman Solomon to call its front page "the most valuable
square inches of media real estate in the USA;" most everywhere,
in fact, because its reports are widely circulated and followed
The Paper of Record has a long history
-- supporting the powerful;
-- backing corporate interests;
-- endorsing imperial wars;
-- supporting CIA efforts to topple elected
governments, assassinate independent leaders, prop up friendly
dictators, secretly fund and train paramilitary death squads,
practice sophisticated forms of torture, and menace democratic
freedoms at home and abroad. For decades, in fact, some Times'
foreign correspondents were covert Agency assets. Others today
likely are as well as other prominent fourth estate members.
The Times management is also comfortable
-- Washington and corporate lawlessness;
-- an unprecedented and growing wealth
-- Wall Street banksters looting the federal
-- a private banking cartel controlling
the nation's money;
-- unmet human needs and increasing poverty,
hunger, homelessness, and despair for growing millions in a nation
run by rogue politicians who don't give a damn as long as they're
-- a de facto one-party state;
-- deep corruption at the highest government
and corporate levels;
-- democracy for the select few alone;
-- sham elections; and
-- a deepening social decay symptomatic
of a declining state, yet The Times management won't use its clout
to expose and help reverse it.
Of course, the same applies throughout
the corporate media, the only variance being audience size, the
ability to influence it, and the special impact of TV news and
talk radio to arouse their faithful. Plus their power of round-the-clock
Examples of Journalism, New York Times
After a Washington staged February 29,
2004 middle-of-the-night coup ousted democratically elected Haitian
president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, The Times March 1 editorial
-- stating he resigned;
-- saying sending in Marines to abduct
him "was the right thing to do;"
-- claiming they only came after "Mr.
Aristide yielded power;"
-- blaming him for "contribut(ing)
significantly to his own downfall (because of his) increasingly
autocratic and lawless rule....;" and
-- accusing him of manipulating the 2000
legislative elections and not "deliver(ing) the democracy
In fact, he's a beloved democrat first
elected in 1990 with 67% of the vote, ousted by a US-supported
coup months later, returned to Haiti in 1994, then, because he
couldn't succeed himself in 1996, ran in 2000 and was overwhelmingly
re-elected with 92% of the vote. Today in exile, the great majority
of Haitians want him back but paramilitary occupiers, under orders
from Washington, won't let him.
Following Hugo Chavez's December 1998
election, The Times Latin American reporter, Larry Roher, wrote:
Regional "presidents and party leaders
are looking over their shoulders (concerned about the) specter
(they) thought they had safely interred: that of the populist
demagogue, the authoritarian man on horseback known as the caudillo
(strongman)" taking power.
Ever since, Times writers consistently:
-- turned a blind eye to Venezuelan democracy;
-- bashed Chavez as "divisive, a
ruinous demagogue, provocative (and) the next Fidel Castro;"
-- said he "militarized the government,
emasculated the country's courts, intimidated the media, eroded
confidence in the economy, and hollowed out Venezuela's once-democratic
institutions:" common conditions during decades of pre-Chavez
rule that columnist Roger Lowenstein falsely said exist now in:
-- calling him anti-capitalist for sharing
his nation's oil wealth with the people by providing essential
social services, and for lifting the most needy out of poverty;
-- denouncing his making foreign investors
pay their fair share.
Lowenstein backed the aborted April 2002
coup by calling Chavez's ouster a "resignation," then
saying Venezuela "no longer (would be) threatened by a would-be
Post-/911, the Times played the lead role
in taking the nation to war by highlighting the "day of terror"
and saying the "President Vows to Exact Punishment for 'Evil.'
In the run-up to the Iraq war, Judith
Miller was a weapon of mass deception with her daily front page
Pentagon press release columns masquerading as real news, later
exposed as manipulative lies, but they worked.
Following the September 15, 2009 Goldstone
Commission report, a same day Neil MacFarquhar column suggested
that Israel's "disproportionate attack" followed Hamas
provocations, so perhaps it was justified. While The Times gave
Judge Goldstone op-ed space, it:
-- published scathing letters denouncing
his "one-sidedness" and a September 18 piece saying
"the Obama administration said (today) that a United Nations
report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza was unfair to Israel
and did not take adequate account of 'deplorable' actions by the
militant group Hamas in the conflict last winter."
The paper then imposed a near-blackout
on its news and editorial pages to bury the story and kill it
through silence - never mind its importance in documenting clear
evidence of Israeli war crimes against a civilian population.
National Public Radio (NPR) and Public
Founded in 1970 as an independent, private,
non-profit member organization of US public radio stations, NPR
promised to be an alternative to commercial broadcasters by "promot(ing)
personal growth rather than corporate gain (and) speak with many
voices, many dialects."
Having long ago abandoned its promise,
and given its substantial corporate and government funding, NPR
is indistinguishable from the rest of the corporate media, just
as corrupted, and consider its former head, Kevin Klose.
He was president from December 1998 -
September 2008 and CEO from 1998 - January 2009. Earlier he was
US propaganda director as head of the Voice of America (VOA),
Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Worldnet Television,
and the anti-Castro Radio/TV Marti, so he fit easily into his
On January 5, 2009, Vivian Schiller succeeded
him as president and CEO. Her official bio says she was previously
with "The New York Times Company where she served as Senior
Vice President and General Manager of NYTimes.com."
She'll oversea "all NPR operations
and initiatives, including the organization's critical partnerships
with our 800+ member stations, and their service to the more than
26 million people who listen to NPR programming every week."
Most don't know they're getting the same corporate propaganda
and "junk food news" or that
NPR calls itself "public" to conceal its real agenda,
and why critics call it "National Pentagon or Petroleum Radio"
with good reason.
Created by the Public Broadcasting Act
of 1967, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) calls itself
"a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress...and
is the steward of the federal government's investment in public
broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,100
locally-owned and-operated public television and radio stations
nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research,
technology, and program development for public radio, television
and related online services."
Like NPR, it's heavily corporate and government
funded and provides similar services for them. Under George Bush,
former Voice of America director Kenneth Tomlinson was chairman
of CPB's Board of Governors until an internal 2005 investigation
forced him out for repeatedly braking the law.
On September 16, 2009, a CPB press release
announced that "The board of directors (of the CPB) today
elected Dr. Ernest Wilson III (as) chairman and re-elected....CEO
Beth Courtney (as) vice-chair."
Wilson previously held senior policy positions
as Director of International Programs and Resources on the National
Security Council. He was also Policy and Planning Unit Director
for the US Information Agency and a member of the Council on Foreign
Beth Courtney is a George Bush appointee,
a past chairman of the board of America's Public Television Stations
and present CPB vice chairman. Currently she also serves on the
boards of Satellite Educational Resources Consortium, the Organization
of State Broadcasting Executives, the National Forum for Public
Television Executives, and the National Educational Telecommunications
Association along with other appropriate credentials for her re-appointment.
In its May/June 2004 "Extra"
report, FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) asked "How
Public Is Public Radio? Writers Steve Rendall and Daniel Butterworth
quoted past head Kevin Klose saying:
"All of us believe our goal is to
serve the entire democracy, the entire country."
Not according to FAIR on "every on-air
source quoted in June 2003 on four of (NPR's) news shows: All
Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition Saturday and
Weekend Edition Sunday." Each guest was classified "by
occupation, gender, nationality, and partisan affiliation."
Combined, 2,334 sources from 804 stories were quoted.
FAIR found that NPR relies on the same
dominant sources as the major media that include government officials,
professional experts, and corporate representatives nearly two-thirds
of the time.
Spokespeople for public interest groups
accounted for 7% of total sources, and ordinary people appeared
mostly in "one-sentence soundbites."
Male guests outnumbered women about 4
- 1, and those quoted most often came from the same elite categories
Overall, NPR represents the same dominant
interests as the major commercial media - conservative, pro-business,
pro-war, pro-Israel, and very much against the public interest
while pretending to support it.
FAIR analyzed PBS's flagship NewsHour
guest list and drew similar conclusions. Like NPR, it's ideologically
right and usually censors progressive content and public interest
programming. In a 1990 NewsHour evaluation, FAIR compared its
content to ABC's Nightline and found that it presented "an
even narrower segment of the political spectrum." It then
conducted an October 2005 - March 2006 analysis of all of its
programs, got similar results, and determined that NewHour is
even more ideologically right than NPR that tilts far in that
FAIR concluded that NPR and NewsHour content
"overwhelmingly represent those in power rather than the
public" they're obliged to serve. While masquerading as public
programming, they betray their listeners and viewers by offering
the same propaganda and "junk food news" as the dominant
corporate media. Considering their funding sources, what else
would they do.
An October 6 NPR story is typical of most
others. It charged Hugo Chavez with "Targeting Opponents
For Arrest." Reporter Juan Forero claimed "dozens of
university students" went on hunger strike outside OAS headquarters
in Caracas on September 28 along with others "across the
country....in support of Julio Cesar Rivas, a student who was
arrested during an anti-government demonstration in August...."
Rivas is the coordinator and founder of
Juventud Activa de Venezuela Unida (United Active Youth of Venezuela
- JAVU). Earlier, he was part of a staged, violent street protest
against Venezuela's new Education Law. The government says JAVU
acts as "shock troops" in opposition protests and is
liberally funded by the National Endowment of Democracy (NED),
International Republican Institute (IRI), and US Agency or International
Development (USAID) to disrupt internal Venezuelan affairs. It's
a familiar scheme, repeated numerous times in the past, to discredit
and disrupt the Chavez government in hopes of eventually ousting
JAVU has about 80,000 members in most
Venezuelan states, and its blog site calls for bringing down the
government and supporting the Honduran military coup.
Rivas was released on September 29, but
must appear for trial. He's a Washington-funded provocateur, charged
with resisting arrest, instigating crime, conspiracy, inciting
rebellion, damaging public property, and using "generic"
While in custody, Venezuela Public Defender
Gabriela Ramirez assured him in person that his full constitutional
rights will be protected. Street protests still continue and have
been countered by pro-Chavez ones calling for "peace and
tolerance." According to the Federation of Bolivarian students'
Opposition "students are being used
and manipulated by the top leadership of the irrational opposition,
which, via the (dominant) media, send them to generate violence
and terrorism in the country" much like on previous occasions.
But according to NPR's Forero, Rivas was
"sent to one of Venezuela's most infamous prisons" where
other government opponents are held as political prisoners. Chavez
"has been jailing dozens of key opponents - some of them
students, some of them veteran politicians" in citing unnamed
"human rights groups and constitutional experts (claiming)
Venezuela is increasingly singling out and imprisoning its foes
in politically motivated witch hunts."
Forero didn't mention that Rivas fomented
violence. Others arrested also broke the law. No one is a political
prisoner, and all Venezuelans get fair and equitable trials, unlike
in America where real political arrests, prosecutions and convictions
happen regularly against innocent targeted victims - a topic NPR
and PBS won't touch except to vilify them publicly on-air.
Nor do they report truthfully on Occupied
Palestine. On October 12, 2009, on NPR's Morning Edition, reporter
Renee Montagne practically extolled Israeli racism in stating:
"There is a new enemy for some Israelis:
romance between Jewish women and Arab men, (so) vigilantes have
banded together to fight it." She means from "Jewish
settlements" that "have sprung up (in) traditionally
Arab" East Jerusalem, but won't admit they're on stolen Palestinian
NPR's Sheera Frankel joined a patrol,
implied Arabs are inferior to Jews, and suggested they pose a
danger to Jewish women and girls. She described vigilantes on
the lookout for "Arab-Jewish couples (to) break up their
dates," suggesting it's the right thing to do, but never
questioning the legitimacy of settlements, vigilante violence
in East Jerusalem, its lawless disregard for the law, or great
harm to innocent people. Instead she called "mixed couples
a growing epidemic" of miscegenation - typical of NPR's racism
and one-sided support for Israel.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
The WSJ is Dow Jones & Company's flagship
publication, now a News Corp. one since Rupert Murdoch bought
it in August 2007. Stating its ideology up front, it says it supports
"free markets and free people" as well as "free
trade and sound money; against confiscatory taxation and the ukases
(edicts) of kings and other collectivists; and for individual
autonomy against dictators, bullies and even the tempers of momentary
In October 2007, FAIR bemoaned the Murdock
takeover because of his "penchant for using his holdings
as vehicles for his personal (views) and business interests."
Earlier FAIR and the Columbia Journalism Review criticized its
editorial page for inaccuracy, extreme bias, and dishonesty.
The Journal is unapologetic in saying
its philosophy "make(s) no pretense of walking down the middle
of the road. Our comments and interpretations are made from a
definite point of view....We oppose all infringements on individual
rights, whether (from) private monopoly, labor union monopoly
or from an overgrowing government.(We're) not much interested
in labels but if we were to choose one, we would say we are radical."
Radical can be revolutionary and beneficial
when it backs fundamental progressive change and reform. Webster
defines it as:
"marked by a considerable departure
from the usual and traditional: extreme; tending or disposed to
make extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or
institutions; of, relating to, or constituting a political (or
perhaps business) group associated with views, practices, and
policies of extreme change; (or) advocating extreme measures to
retain or restore a political state of affairs" such the
radical right represented by the WSJ's management and editorial
Critics agree that they're on the far
right extremist fringe, a supporter of voodoo economics, tax cuts
for the rich, a staunch defender of executive privilege, and disdainful
of anything to the left of their views as witnessed daily by some
of the most outlandish, one-sided, pro-business commentaries countenancing
no alternatives, with the rarest of rare exceptions showing up
to make the paper look fair, which it's not.
Consider editorial board member Mary O'Grady
in her weekly Americas column on "politics, economics and
business in Latin America and Canada." Her extremism is unmatched.
Her style is agitprop; her space a truth-free zone; her language
hateful and vindictive; her tone malicious and slanderous; her
style bare-knuckled thuggishness; and her material calculating,
mendacious, and shameless. Yet she's a WSJ regular and an award-winning
op-ed writer, but surely no journalist according to Webster's
"writing characterized by a direct
presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt
O'Grady fails on both counts. She's a
kind of print version of Fox News' Glenn Beck, who promotes himself
on glennbeck.com looking arrogant in a uniform reminiscent of
the Nazi SS.
Consider O'Grady's support for the Washington-backed
June 28 Honduran coup ousting a democratically elected president.
It was followed by months of mass arrests, disappearances, killings,
targeting the independent media, suspending the Constitution,
declaring martial law, and threatening the Brazilian embassy's
sovereignty where President Manuel Zelaya took refuge after returning.
In one of her many pro-coup articles,
O'Grady (on July 13) headlined "Why Honduras Sent Zelaya
Away." In a "perfect world," according to her,
he "would be in jail in his own country right now, awaiting
trial. The Honduran attorney general (part of the coup regime)
has charged him with deliberately violating Honduran law and the
Supreme Court (stacked with pro-coup justices) ordered his arrest
in Tegucigalpa on June 28," the day of the coup.
"But the Honduran military whisked
him out of the country, to Costa Rica," to save itself the
embarrassment of jailing a democratically elected leader whose
lawful actions were endorsed by the majority of Hondurans wanting
progressive constitutional change and a president willing to give
it to them.
Yet according to O'Grady, "Mr. Zelaya's
detention was legal, as was his official removal from office by
Congress....Besides eagerly trampling the constitution, Mr. Zelaya
had demonstrated that he was ready to employ the violent tactics
of 'chavismo' to hang onto power. The decision to pack him off
immediately was taken in the interest of protecting both constitutional
order and human life."
In fact, Zelaya neither espoused or practiced
violence, and his call for a public June 28 vote on whether to
hold a referendum for a new Constitutional Convention at the same
time as the November elections lawfully asked for a "yes"
or "no" on one question:
"Do you think that the November 2009
general elections should include a fourth ballot box (the other
three were for candidates) in order to make a decision about the
creation of a National Constitutional Assembly that would approve
a new Constitution?"
According to Article 5 of the 2006 Honduran
"Civil Participation Act," government officials may
hold non-binding inquiries (referenda) to determine popular support
for proposed measures. Gauging sentiment for a National Constituent
Assembly for a new Constitution is legal.
Yet in her June 28 article titled, "Honduras
Defends Its Democracy," O'Grady falsely claimed Zelaya planned
"a constitutional rewrite (following) a national referendum"
only the Congress can approve. In fact, Zelaya called for a vote
to assess public sentiment, pro or con, on whether Hondurans want
a Constitutional Convention, an act no different from a public
opinion poll that's perfectly legal or should be anywhere. But
according to O'Grady, Zelaya "decided he would run the referendum
himself." It's typical O'Grady truth reversal that earns
her weekly space on the WSJ's op-ed page.
The BBC's Long Tradition As An Imperial
State-owned and funded, it's tradition
is long, unbroken, and disturbing as the world's largest and most
influential broadcaster reaching global audiences in 32 languages.
From inception in 1925, it's been reliably pro-government and
pro-business, or as its founder Lord Reith wrote the establishment:
"They know they can trust us not to be really impartial."
Neither he or his successors disappointed on topics mattering
most, including war and peace, corporate crimes, US-UK duplicity,
labor rights, democratic freedoms, human and civil rights, social
justice, and Western imperialism.
They're consistently distorted, suppressed,
marginalized or ignored throughout decades of misreporting despite
claiming "honesty (and) integrity (is) what the BBC stands
for (because it's) free from political influence and commercial
As a propaganda service, its record is
uncompromisingly anti-union, pro-business, and dependably safe
for Whitehall and its allies. It moralizes Western aggression,
bashes independent democratic leaders, and cheerleads for the
powerful at the expense of providing real news and information
for millions believing BBC is credible. For over eight decades,
it's record is solid and predictable - betraying the public trust
to reliably serve the powerful. The tradition continues.
Prominent TV Demagogues
Among the many, consider a select few.
For example, CNN's Lou Dobbs, "Mr. Independent" he calls
himself. Critics use more descriptive terms, yet according to
his loudobbs.tv.cnn.com bio:
He's "anchor and managing editor
of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight (and also anchor of) a nationally syndicated
financial news radio report, The Lou Dobbs Financial Report...."
In addition, he writes a weekly CNN.com commentary, is an author
and award-winning "journalist," most recently in 2005
when "the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
awarded (him) the Emmy for Lifetime Achievement" for serving
the usual special interests nightly on prime time TV.
In June 2004, he also won "the Eugene
Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration from
the Center for Immigration Studies for his ongoing series 'Broken
Borders,' which examines US policy towards illegal immigration."
Little wonder in an August 2006 article, this writer called him
CNN's Vice President of Racism. He's also a paid liar and in America
In May 2008, a Media Matters Action Network
report titled, "Fear & Loathing in Prime Time: Immigration
Myths and Cable News" highlighted undocumented Latino hatemongering
by Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly, and Glenn Beck, each claiming:
-- an alleged connection between undocumented
Latinos and crime; in fact, clear evidence shows they're no more
likely to break laws than American citizens;
-- how they exploit social services and
don't pay taxes; in fact, undocumented immigrants are ineligible,
without proof of legal status, for Medicaid, food stamps, State
Children's Health Insurance (SCHIP) and welfare; they do pay income,
payroll, property, sales and other taxes and are entitled to public
education; according to the National Academy of Sciences, immigrants
provide a net annual gain of up to $10 billion to US GDP; according
to Rand Corp. economist James P. Smith, the "net present
value of the gains from those immigrants who arrived since 1980
would be $333 billion."
-- the "reconquista" myth about
a supposed Mexican plot to take over the US Southwest; and
-- an epidemic of Latino voter fraud that,
according to Dobbs' incessant drumbeat, puts America's "democracy
absolutely in jeopardy."
He also propagates the myth that undocumented
Latinos caused an increase in US leprosy (or Hansen's disease).
In an on-air April 2005 report (among others), correspondent Christine
Romans quoted "medical lawyer" Dr. Madeleine Cosman
"We have some enormous problems with
horrendous diseases that are being brought into America by illegal
aliens (including) leprosy...." Romans added that, according
to Cosman, "there were about 900 (US) cases of leprosy for
40 years. There have been 7,000 in the past three years."
According to a May 2007 "60 Minutes"
report, the National Hansen's Disease Program (NHDP) of the Department
of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported that "7,000 is
the number of leprosy cases over the last 30 years, not the past
three, and nobody knows how many of those cases involve illegal
immigrants." NHDP added that from 2002 - 2005 (the timeline
of Cosman's claim), only 398 cases occurred. To that, Dobbs responded:
"If we reported it, it's a fact."
Founded in 1971, the Southern Poverty
Law Center (SPLC) is internationally known for its activism against
hate groups and scoring legal victories against white supremacists.
It says Dobbs regularly features inaccurate racist reports and
features anti-immigrant hatemongers like:
-- Glenn Spencer, head of the anti-immigration
American Patrol, whose web site highlights anti-Mexican vitriol
and the idea that Mexico plans a secret takeover of the Southwest;
-- Joe McCutchen, head of the anti-immigration
Protect Arkansas Now group, that Dobbs calls "a terrific
group of concerned, caring Americans;"
-- Paul Streitz, co-founder of Connecticut
Citizens for Immigration Control, who once denounced Mayor John
DeStefano, Jr. for "turning New Haven into a banana republic;"
-- Barbara Coe, leader of the California
Coalition for Immigration Reform who routinely calls Mexicans
-- Chris Simcox, co-founder of the Minuteman
Project and a leading anti-immigration figure.
SPLC explains that Dobbs "doggedly
explores and supports the anti-immigration movement (and) won't
report salient negative facts about anti-immigration leaders he
Instead, he falsely claims that:
-- "just about a third of the prison
population in this country is estimated to be illegal aliens;"
-- states have been "overwhelmed
by criminal illegal aliens;" and
-- US borders are "unprotected"
allowing "criminal illegal aliens (to) murder police officers."
In 2007 alone, the connection between
illegal immigration and crime was discussed on 94 episodes of
Lou Dobbs Tonight, and dozens more focused on an "army of
invaders," immigrants not paying taxes, draining social services,
and threatening our white Anglo-Saxon culture.
CNN reporters Casey Wian, Bill Tucker,
Kitty Pilgrim and others present a steady diet of subtle and overt
racism to incite viewers to believe it. Through constant repetition,
it propagates the myth, and according to the Media Matters Action
Dobbs "is hailed by the entire spectrum
of immigration opponents, from the reasonable to the unreasonable.
And the degree to which extremist elements see (him) as an ally
indicates at the very least that they believe he is helping their
cause" because they feel he's a populist crusader.
Yet according to a July 30 New York Observer
report, recent Nielsen data showed that after Dobbs began reporting
(on July 15) that Barack Obama's birth certificate was fraudulent
(an apparent stunt to increase ratings), his viewership dropped
significantly - 15% overall and 27% in the valued 25 - 54 age
Fox News Channel (FNC)
When it debuted in 1996, one of its on-air
The "Channel was launched (because)
something was wrong with news media....somewhere bias found its
way into reporting....Fox....is committed to being fair and balanced
(covering) stories everybody is reporting - and....stories....you
will see only on Fox."
Later the Columbia Journalism Review said
several former Fox employees "complained of 'management sticking
their fingers' in the writing and editing stories to cook the
facts to make a story more palatable to right-of-center tastes."
But it hasn't hurt ratings.
As of Q 1 2009, FNC was the second highest
rated cable channel in prime time total viewers. CNN ranked 17th
and MSNBC 24th. The O'Reilly Factor has been #1 rated on cable
news for 100 consecutive months and gained 27% more viewers year-over-year.
Glenn Beck increased 90% over the previous year. Overall, FNC
topped CNN and MSNBC combined in prime time total audience.
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
said "Fox's signature political news show, Special Report
with Brit Hume (now with Bret Baier) was originally created as
a daily one-hour update devoted to the 1998 Clinton sex scandal."
In the past year, it gained 39% more viewers.
As for accuracy and being "fair and
balanced," FAIR (in summer 2001) called FNC "The Most
Biased Name in News," yet according to Murdoch in March 2001:
"I challenge anybody to show me an
example of bias in Fox News Channel."
In FAIR's Seth Ackerman article and later
ones, FNC's blatant manipulation of the news is exposed. For example,
Bret Baier's "Political Grapevine" is a right-wing "hot
sheet" featuring a "series of gossipy items culled from
other right-wing" sources. It and other reports are blatantly
partisan propaganda against "liberal media bias," progressives,
environmentalists, anti-war activists, civil rights groups, and
others to the left of their views.
According to FAIR, the commentary on political
punditry programs like The O'Reilly Factor, the Sean Hannity Show,
and The Beltway Boys is so slanted that it's like watching "a
Harlem Globetrotters game (knowing) which side is supposed to
FNC's Bill O'Reilly
His official bio calls The O'Reilly Factor
"a unique blend of news analysis and hard hitting investigative
reporting dropped each weeknight into 'The No Spin Zone."
He also hosts a syndicated radio show, writes a weekly column
carried in over 300 newspapers, and authored several books that
according to New York Times writer Janet Maslin were "either
(done) with a collaborator or (O'Reilly) was born with a ghostwriter's
gift for filling space with platitudes...." With good reason,
Maslin called him "one of the most controversial human beings
in the world...."
In an October 2008 report titled "Smearcasting,"
FAIR called him an "Islamophobe" for spreading "fear,
bigotry and misinformation" along with 11 other popular figures,
including Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin (another FNC
regular), David Horowitz, and Pat Robertson.
After 9/11, FAIR said O'Reilly proposed
attacking a list of Muslim countries "if they did not submit
to the US - starting with Afghanistan."
On air he said:
"The US should bomb the Afghan infrastructure
to rubble - the airport, the power plants, their water facilities
and the roads....If they don't rise up against this primitive
country, they starve, period."
Iraq must also be destroyed he said, and
"the population made to endure yet another round of intense
pain." As for Libya, "Nothing goes in, nothing goes
out....Let them eat sand."
FAIR called his penchant for attacking
Muslim countries "an O'Reilly trademark", and "his
disregard for Muslim civilians is matched by the anti-Muslim sentiments
he frequently expresses on both his nationally syndicated radio
show, the Radio Factor," reaching 3.5 million listeners,
and his top-rated FNC show.
Some of his hateful comments include saying:
-- areas of London are "just packed
with just dense Muslim neighborhoods, which breed this kind of
contempt for Western society. Why do they let them in;"
-- "We're at war with Muslim fanatics.
So all young Muslims should be subject to (special) scrutiny,
(saying it's not racial, just) "criminal profiling;"
-- "the most unattractive women in
the world are probably in Muslim countries;" and
-- in Iraq, he blamed killing on Islam:
"They're all Muslims, and they're doing what they do. They're
killing each other. And they're killing Americans."
O'Reilly is equally racist about Latino
immigrants with frequent comments like:
"The extreme elements in this country
want open borders, blanket amnesty, and entitlement for foreign
nationals who have come here illegally, and generally want to
change the demographics in the USA so political power can be assumed
by the left. That is the end game." He also argues that "Low-skilled
immigrant labor costs the taxpayers today $19,000 to (subsidize)
people who are using the hospitals (and) the education system....These
are rock-solid stats," but O'Reilly won't say from where.
They're blatantly false and may be from
a May 2007 Robert Rector/Christine Kim (right-wing think tank)
Heritage Foundation paper titled, "The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill
Immigrants to State and Local Taxpayers."
O'Reilly spreads daily misinformation,
innuendo, and hateful demagoguery to millions of his daily faithful.
Like the others above, they're paid liars delivering what passes
for today's major media journalism. It's why so much of the public
is misinformed and the reason more hate groups than ever proliferate.
According to the Southern Poverty Law
Center (SPLC), they numbered 926 in 2008, up from 602 in 2000
and are "animated by the national immigration debate."
Since Obama took office, they're also driven by their hatred of
a black president, exacerbated by a growing economic crisis that's
easy to blame on the undocumented and a non-white head of state.
These groups are ideologically vicious
and extremely dangerous when motivated by racist right-wing media
commentators reaching far larger audiences than more saner voices
drowned out. It's more evidence of social decay and the urgent
need for change.
The Right-Wing Media Attack ACORN
Founded in 1970, ACORN (Association of
Community Organizations for Reform Now) "is the nation's
largest grassroots community organization of low and moderate
income people with over 400,000 member families organized into
more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in about 75 cities across
As the nation's preeminent community organizing
group, it backs a living wage, opposes predatory lending and foreclosures,
supports affordable housing, better public schools, welfare reform,
voting rights, rebuilding New Orleans, and other social and economic
For many months as a result, right-wing
extremists have tried to discredit its successes online and through
the media. Led by Fox News, Lou Dobbs, and others, it's accused
of financial corruption, massive voter fraud, and other indiscretions,
mostly fabricated to destroy the group's credibility, cut off
its funding, and harm other community organizing efforts. However,
compared to corporate fraud and abuse scandals, ACORN's occasional
missteps are minor, insignificant, and undeserving of inflammatory
Nonetheless recent news stories featured
false accusations that ACORN engages in prostitution nationwide.
The supposed evidence came from two right-wing filmmakers (Hannah
Giles and James O'Keefe) posing as prostitute and pimp, conveniently
videotaped for airing. In prime time especially, Fox News, Lou
Dobbs and others featured it nightly.
On September 14, Dobbs reported "another
pimp and prostitute scandal at the left-wing activist organization
ACORN. For the third time, ACORN workers for the left-wing advocacy
group (got) caught on hidden camera breaking the law. Now calls
from Congress to investigate and cut off public funding are growing."
According to Fox News Bill O'Reilly, "With
more than 30 criminal 'convictions' on its resume, the organization
cannot be trusted." Based on no credible evidence, other
FNC reports accuse ACORN of "operat(ing) as a criminal enterprise,"
including prostitution, running a prostitution ring, filing false
documents with taxing and other government authorities, bank fraud,
violating immigration laws, transporting women and children to
America for immoral purposes, and impairing the welfare of minors.
More evidence of reprehensible innuendo,
distortion, deceit, and misinformation from major media paid liars.
It's why web sites like this one gain followers.
Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate
of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago
and can be reached at lendmanstephen.blogspot.com.