Karl Rove has recently used his various media platforms to sing the praises of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and tout his role in the brewing debate over immigration reform. Rove and Rubio have a mutually beneficial political and financial relationship that dates back several years.
Earlier this week on Fox News' Special Report, Rove suggested that if anyone is going to unite the GOP on immigration, it will be Rubio because "he's the best communicator since Ronald Reagan." In a separate appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, Rove lauded Rubio for laying out "an excellent set of principles" on immigration, and said "Republicans ought to give it a very clear, strong look."
Rove has also taken his praise of Rubio to his weekly Wall Street Journal column. On February 7, Rove wrote that President Obama should "play it low-key" on immigration reform and give deference to the so-called Senate Gang of Eight, whose immigration framework "highlights the persuasive powers of Sen. Marco Rubio." In his January 31 column, Rove argued that having Rubio "as the GOP spokesman on immigration issues will hasten the GOP recovery" with Latino voters.
Rove's support of Rubio extends beyond comparisons to Ronald Reagan on national television; his American Crossroads political groups were some of Rubio's earliest financial backers, dumping nearly $3 million (by Rove's accounting) into his 2010 Florida Senate race.
Rubio has been happy to return the favor.
According to Politico, former Republican Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown is "in discussions with Fox News about becoming a contributor." Brown, who recently announced that he would not seek Secretary of State John Kerry's former Senate seat, was given a huge boost by Fox News during his previous runs for office. During his successful 2010 Senate run, the network openly advocated for his candidacy, helped him fundraise, and smeared his opponent.
If hired, Brown's trajectory with regard to Fox News would mimic that of Sarah Palin. Palin signed a Fox News contract after the network lauded her 2008 campaign as Sen. John McCain's running mate. Palin has since left Fox.
In the lead up to the January 2010 special election to fill Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat, Fox repeatedly gave Brown a platform to reach their audience. During his appearances, Brown routinely directed viewers to his website to find out "how to help with donating and volunteering." Former Fox News contributor Dick Morris took the advocacy a step further, pleading with Hannity viewers shortly before the election to "please, please help" Brown and "go to DickMorris.com ... to help elect" him.
Fox personalities like Stuart Varney and Charles Payne and the Fox Nation website all suggested a Brown win could lead to a stock market rally, with Varney telling Fox viewers, "your 401(k) could do well" if Scott Brown wins.
Fox & Friends' coverage of Brown in 2009 and 2010 was particularly fawning. The hosts speculated about Brown possibly running for president one day and once spent a segment playing with Scott Brown action figures:
After Brown took office, Fox was occasionally critical of him when he didn't adhere to a far-right legislative agenda. Nonetheless, during Brown's unsuccessful 2012 re-election campaign, Fox News once again supported him. Over the course of one three-day period in August 2012, the network spent at least 17 segments and 43 minutes of airtime smearing his opponent, Elizabeth Warren, over comments she had made about infrastructure spending and wealthy Americans.
Brown's decision not to seek Kerry's seat could open the door for Fox News contributor Keith Ablow to make his own Senate run. Ablow has indicated he would consider running for Kerry's seat if Republican leaders stand "united" around him and he does not have to face a primary challenger.
If that happens, a Fox News candidate would be turning into a Fox News contributor, allowing a Fox News contributor to become a Fox News candidate.
UPDATE: New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter reports that Brown's hiring is official. He notes that while Brown has said that he will not seek the Massachusetts Senate seat, he "could instead seek the Massachusetts governorship in 2014, but for now he'll appear pretty much exclusively on Fox, a powerful platform for anyone in the Republican party." Thus a Fox candidate has become a Fox contributor, possibly in preparation to later become a Fox candidate once again.
Following nearly fifteen years of countless ethical violations, inaccurate electoral predictions, and offensive, false, and dishonest comments, Fox News political analyst Dick Morris is done at the network.
His exit is long overdue.
After Morris announced on his website that he would be appearing on the February 6 edition of CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, Fox News officials confirmed that the network had declined to renew his contract.
Though Morris had made dozens of appearances on Fox News in the months before the 2012 election, he has been absent from the network's airwaves since a November 12 appearance on Hannity. Prior to the election, Morris repeatedly told Fox's audience that Mitt Romney was headed to a "landslide" election victory over President Barack Obama.
New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman reported in December that Fox News had benched Morris, requiring producers to get permission from high-ranking network executives before booking him on their shows. According to Sherman, "Morris's Romney boosterism and reality-denying predictions became a punch line" inside the network. In recent years the network's executives had also repeatedly been subjected to inquiries from reporters concerning Morris' pattern of ethical misdeeds.
During a May 2012 appearance on the O'Reilly Factor -- a program that featured Morris hundreds of times during his tenure at the network -- host Bill O'Reilly told Morris that he was so far "out on the limb" predicting a Romney win, that if Obama were to be re-elected, Morris would be "through."
At least as far as Morris' Fox employment is concerned, O'Reilly was right.
In this report:
After the White House released a picture of President Obama skeet shooting at Camp David, conservative bloggers were quick to claim that the photo had been altered or created with Adobe Photoshop or a similar graphics editing program. This follows a long, bizarre tradition of conservative media labeling a wide range of pictures and documents related to the president as fraudulent.
In the past few years, conservatives have accused President Obama and his staff of Photoshopping the short and long-form versions of the president's birth certificate, two separate photos of the president with his family, two Situation Room photos from the day of the bin Laden raid, a photo of Obama throwing a football, and now a photo of the president shooting skeet.
During an interview last month with The New Republic, President Obama was asked if he has ever fired a gun. After the president told the magazine that he goes skeet shooting with guests at Camp David, conservatives -- as well as reporters from more mainstream outlets -- sought proof. In order to quiet the skeptics, on Saturday the White House released a photo of the president shooting clay targets at Camp David in 2012:
Linking to the picture on Twitter, White House senior adviser David Plouffe joked, "let the photoshop conspiracies begin!" While Plouffe was mocking the penchant of some conservatives to turn everything related to President Obama into a conspiracy, some conservative outlets quickly proved his point by doing just that (New York Magazine has produced a comprehensive roundup of the skeet shooting conspiracies).
In an article posted Sunday at conservative website American Thinker -- an outlet frequently touted and cited by Rush Limbaugh -- titled "Seven Reasons Why it's a Photoshop," blogger Michael Harlin concluded, "if he's shooting skeet, then I'm Daffy Duck." (While the headline calls it a Photoshop, Harlin seems to waver on whether the picture was manipulated or merely "staged like everything else in President Obama's life.")
To give you some idea of the level of analysis in the piece, among Harlin's evidence that something is off about the Obama picture is his observation that unlike Obama, "most shooters wear baseball style caps" to help "block unwanted sun in your eyes."
Obama is wearing sunglasses (or tinted protective eyewear) in the photo.
It's easy to point and laugh at analyses like these, but conservatives' obsession with these Photoshop conspiracies shows the type of paranoid nonsense that has passed for journalism at many prominent conservative outlets during the Obama era.
In this report we examine right-wing claims that the president's allies have altered:
Fox News host Geraldo Rivera is poised to become the latest Republican to leverage their Fox News platform into a possible run at political office. During an appearance this morning on Fox & Friends, Rivera suggested that he will continue to appear on the network while he "hone[s] a message," and do so until "it's no longer legal."
On the January 31 edition of his Cumulus radio show, Rivera told listeners that he is "truly contemplating" running for U.S. Senate in New Jersey. Following a discussion this morning of various news events, including the suicide attack in Turkey, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson asked Rivera about the "firestorm" he had created by announcing a possible run. In response, Rivera launched into what co-host Steve Doocy appropriately labeled a "stump speech."
Joined by onscreen text featuring phrases like "Senator Rivera?," Rivera touted himself as a "modern Republican" that could appeal to "a point of view that is unrepresented in states like New Jersey." Calling for a "new vitalization of the Republican Party," Rivera explained his desire to cut the deficit and rein in entitlements while also indicating his support of gay marriage, Roe v. Wade, and immigration reform.
When Doocy asked Rivera if he's aware that he "can't be on TV or radio" if he officially declares his candidacy, Rivera explained that the race is "still a good year away," so he has "some time to hone a message," presumably using his Fox and WABC platforms. Later in the conversation, after Doocy encouraged him to make any official announcement on Fox & Friends, a laughing Rivera responded, "Well, I'll be here every Friday, until as such time as it's no longer legal."
Rivera is the latest in an increasingly long line of Fox News personalities who have attempted to use the network as a springboard into political office.
Based on flimsy evidence and leaps of logic, conservative media outlets are pretending that, in the words of Newsmax, "Reagan's Childhood Home to Become Parking Lot for Obama's Library." But the story doesn't pass the smell test.
The "childhood home" is an apartment Reagan lived in for less than a year as a young child, and its planned demolition is part of an expansion by the University of Chicago that has nothing to do with President Obama's presidential library. Obama hasn't chosen which state his presidential library will eventually be in, let alone where people will need to park for it. Further, Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney has declared the story "false."
While easily dismissed, the story serves as an illustrative example of the way the conservative echo chamber can twist facts and turn baseless speculation into their controversy du jour.
With Sen. John Kerry's confirmation hearing as secretary of state scheduled for January 24, media reports will likely invoke the coordinated 2004 campaign to "Swift Boat" Kerry. While the smears from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) have long-since fallen apart under scrutiny, Jerome Corsi, one of the masterminds behind the campaign, is revisiting his old attacks.
A look at Corsi's "reporting" during the 2008 campaign and Obama's presidency confirms what quickly became clear during his efforts to hamstring Kerry's presidential run: he has utterly no credibility and his alleged reporting should not be taken seriously by media outlets.
Prior to the 2004 election, with the backing of major Republican donors, Vietnam veteran John O'Neill co-founded SBVT in an attempt to derail Kerry's presidential bid by casting doubt on his military service. The group launched a series of dishonest ads in August of that year, accompanied by Unfit for Command, a book co-authored by O'Neill and Corsi. In its review of Unfit for Command in October 2004, The New York Times explained that while the book was filled with "discredited," "faulty" and "totally unconvincing" claims, if Kerry's presidential bid were to fail, the tome would "go down as a chief reason."
When the book was released, co-author Corsi was practically unknown in political circles. He was a regular poster at conservative message board Free Republic and worked at a financial marketing group. After Media Matters highlighted a series of offensive comments he had made at Free Republic -- including calling Muslims "ragheads" and "boy buggers" and labeling Hillary Clinton a "fat hog" -- Unfit for Command co-author John O'Neill repeatedly tried to distance himself from Corsi to tamp down the controversy. While O'Neill tried to claim Corsi merely helped edit Unfit for Command, Corsi was listed as co-author on the book jacket and promotional materials for the book touted his involvement in co-writing it.
Shortly before the 2004 election, Corsi was hired by conservative publication WorldNetDaily, which has served as his main outlet. During the 2008 campaign and Obama's presidency, Corsi has used his WND platform to promote a staggering number of outlandish conspiracies about the president, including that Obama has a fake birth certificate and stolen Social Security number; that Obama is both secretly gay and secretly Muslim; and that Obama and his family have lied about the true identity of his father, who may be either communist writer Frank Marshall Davis or "some Indonesian."
In this report:
- "Where's The Birth Certificate?": Corsi Is Leading Birther Conspiracy Theorist
- "Where's The Real Birth Certificate?": Corsi Led Charge To Declare Obama's Long-Form Fake
- "I've Always Thought The Father Was Indonesian": Corsi's Quest To Find Obama's "Real" Father
- Corsi: Obama Is Possibly Gay, Definitely A Muslim
- A Superhighway To The Education Camps
While former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford may have tried to rehabilitate his affair tarnished national image by working as a Fox News contributor, it appears he didn't win over his Fox Nation colleagues. The website highlighted a report of Sanford's upcoming announcement that he's running for congress by labeling him the "Disgraced Former SC Gov. Mark Sanford."
The original headline of the article Fox Nation linked to is "Report: Mark Sanford to Run for Congress."
Sanford had a tumultuous second term as governor that was marked by an affair and a subsequent ethics rebuke. During that time, Fox News personalities derided Sanford as a "serial liar," a "laughingstock," and an "early brain donor."
Still, Fox News hired Sanford as a contributor in October 2011 and The New York Times reported that Sanford was expected to "stay on with Fox even beyond the general election." Fox Nation highlighted the news of his hiring without any negativity: "Former SC Gov. Mark Sanford Hired By Fox News As Political Commentator Through 2012 Elections."
According to a TVEyes.com search, Sanford most recently appeared as a Fox News contributor on the November 3 edition of America's Election HQ to discuss the upcoming election. His candidacy likely means the end of his Fox News employment.
Shortly after the publication of this post, Fox Nation pulled its Sanford article. The original link now returns this error:
The Five co-host Eric Bolling apparently thinks that the United States invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein "financed" the 9/11 terror attacks. This is blatantly false. The link between Hussein and September 11 has been long-since debunked by numerous investigative bodies, including the 9/11 Commission, which discovered "no credible evidence" that Iraq was involved in the attacks.
In a January 11 post on Twitter, Bolling linked to a Huffington Post article highlighting comments he made on The Five on January 9, in which he accused children's book publisher Scholastic of "pushing a liberal agenda." According to Bolling, liberal bias can be found in children's history textbooks that include "very liberally biased" arguments such as: "George Bush went in [Iraq] because he heard there were weapons of mass destruction and they were never found."
Responding to the Huffington Post, Bolling wrote: "We (America) 'went into' Iraq because radical Islamists killed 3k of ours+Saddam financed."
Washington Times columnist and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent claimed that gun owners will be the next Rosa Parks if President Obama issues an executive order confiscating guns.
While Vice President Joe Biden has suggested that the White House could take executive action on guns, no one in the administration has said that such action would involve gun confiscation. The administration has reportedly previously considered executive action to ensure that more records of mental illness were included in the FBI's background check system.
During an interview with conspiracy clearinghouse WorldNetDaily, Nugent predicted that if an "actual confiscatory directive" came from Obama, then "heroes of the law enforcement will defy this order." Nonetheless, he worried that there were "enough soulless sheep within our government who would act on such an illegal order" and predicted peaceful resistance from "law-abiding gun owners," who would "be the Rosa Parks and we will sit down on the front seat of the bus":
"If it comes to the actual implementation of an actual confiscatory directive from our president, then I do believe that the heroes of the law enforcement will defy this order. I do believe that there are enough soulless sheep within our government who would act on such an illegal order but I believe the powers that be at the local, state, and regional law enforcement would halt such an illegal, anti-American order," said Nugent.
Nugent continued, "You are talking to a guy who talks to more gun owners in more heated and concerned conversations than anyone who lives. These are top notch heroes of law enforcement and military who understand this experiment in self-government and we will not let it [gun confiscation] happen, we will do it peaceful.
"But there will come a time when the gun owners of America, the law-abiding gun owners of America, will be the Rosa Parks and we will sit down on the front seat of the bus, case closed."