As Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow have so brilliantly illustrated, Fox News hosts love to brag about how well they do in the ratings when faced with any criticism. It's their own spin on "I know you are but what I am."
Which is why this report on FoxNews.com's comparatively low traffic from Media Week's Mike Shields was so interesting.
Shields writes (emphasis added):
In the cable TV news world, Fox News Channel is a force to be reckoned with. So why does the network continually get its digital clock cleaned—by CNN, of all rivals?
On the tube, Fox's ratings are so dominant that CNN is turning to prostitution-tarred former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to revive its prime-time lineup. In fact, Fox host Bill O'Reilly recently suggested that rival news nets are all but irrelevant, saying, "If you want to know what's really happening in America, you have to come here." But with millions of Americans turning to the Web for more of their news on a more frequent and immediate basis, can that assessment actually be true?
Foxnews.com averages around 12 million or 13 million monthly unique users, according to Nielsen Online, rarely approaching the 35 million to 40 million uniques that leaders Yahoo News, MSNBC and CNN regularly deliver in aggregate. Some of that disparity can be explained away, as both Yahoo and MSNBC draw heavy traffic from their portal counterparts, and CNN benefits from traffic driven by CNNMoney.com and Sports Illustrated's site.
But even on its own, CNN.com consistently beats Foxnews.com by 7 million or 8 million unique users. Per comScore, the gap is even larger: 43.4 million uniques for CNN.com in June vs. 11.4 million for Foxnews.com. Plus, CNN.com regularly bests Foxnews.com in measures like page views, time spent and video streams—and it has opened an early lead in mobile (14 million uniques vs. 9 million in May for Fox, per Nielsen).
Those numbers have led some to wonder whether Fox's lack of digital success could eventually undermine its influence in American news—particularly as a younger generation gravitates toward getting its headlines from iPhones and iPads rather than TV.
Since Fox News has such disdain for science in general I thought it perfectly acceptable to point to this unscientific online poll from Fox News that shows more than 70 percent of those responding agreeing with last week's U.S. District Court decision that ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional.
With pleasure, I direct you to this interesting Fox News online poll in which at the time of this posting 300,499 votes had been cast.
The poll poses the following issue and question:
A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Prop. 8, California's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. Do you agree with the judge's decision?
Kudos to Fox for asking this important question straightforwardly.
Although Fox notes that this is not a scientific poll, the response thus far strongly affirms the decision by Judge Vaughn Walker to strike down the California anti-same sex marriage Proposition 8.
Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has now filed a brief with the courts calling for gay marriages to immediately resume.
Here are the current responses to the Fox poll:
Yes -- Prop. 8 violates the Constitution. 71.1% (213,547 votes)
No -- Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. I don't care what the judge thinks about the Constitution. 24.8% (74,455 votes)
I'm not sure but shouldn't the voters views count for something? 3.6% (10,812 votes)
Other (leave a comment). 0.6% (1,685 votes)
Total Votes: 300,499
I've received a link to this poll from many friends so I seriously doubt that the Fox News audience actually feels this way -- especially when you consider the anti-gay coverage they are exposed to so frequently. However, it's always nice to highlight an online Fox News poll when it contradicts the prevailing talking points of the right-wing network.
In articles on Judge Vaughn Walker's decision to overturn the gay marriage ban in California, FoxNews.com and The Washington Times did not note that Walker was nominated as a federal judge by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. But in reports on Judge Susan Bolton's decision to block portions of the Arizona immigration law, both outlets noted that President Clinton nominated Bolton.
FoxNews.com whitewashed Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's record on transparency and racial profiling by uncritically reporting his lawyer's statements that there isn't "evidence" of racial profiling and that Arpaio's office is "transparent." In fact, a federal judge sanctioned Arpaio's office in February "for destroying evidence in a racial-profiling case."
In a July 28 FoxNews.com article, Stephen Clark tries to stir controversy over Loyola University's decision not to host Fox News contributor Karl Rove because "welcoming a 'political' speaker ahead of the midterm elections could threaten its tax-exempt status." Clark suggests that the school is guilty of hypocrisy because it will host "an Obama administration appointee," and defends Rove by claiming he "is not working on any campaign this season."
Fox News' description of Rove is incredibly dishonest. Rove helped organize American Crossroads, a fundraising group that was started with the purpose of helping GOP campaigns during the 2010 election cycle. The group has raised millions of dollars from wealthy donors and has already run anti-Democrat attack ads. The Politico wrote that groups like Rove's give "Republicans and their allies a powerful campaign apparatus separate from the Republican National Committee."
Rove is also a regular fundraiser for GOP organizations and candidates; regularly endorses Republican candidates; and has been offering campaign advice to Republicans, such as the House Republican Conference and Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul.
Fox News, of course, didn't tell you any of this while claiming that its employee is "not working on any campaign this season."
After trumpeting GOP activist J. Christian Adams' fabricated New Black Panthers Party story, Fox News is now reporting his false claim the Department of Justice is "ignoring" a military voting law by allegedly "encourag[ing]" states to use waivers to bypass the law. In fact, the waiver process is built into the law, and Adams offered no specific evidence to support his claim that DOJ is "encourag[ing]" states to use those waivers.
Yesterday, the noise machine's nonsense scandal du jour was that the Obama administration supposedly "supported" the release of the Lockerbie bomber. Fox News' Dana Perino, FoxNews.com, Drudge, and several conservative bloggers hyped the story, with the always-unhinged Pam Geller going so far as to call for a "special investigation" and a "charge of treason." Rush Limbaugh claimed that Obama "backed the release," because he "wanted to make nice with the Muslim world." As we pointed out at the time, reports indicated that the administration opposed the release of the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds, but stipulated that if he were to be released, he should go to Scotland, and not to Libya.
Predictably, the story has continued to disintegrate. Yesterday, The State Department released its correspondence with the Scottish Ministry of Justice, which states in no uncertain terms that the administration "is 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."
Responding to the release of the letter in a post headlined "Two Cheers For The Administration On Megrahi," PowerLine's John Hinderaker states that this story is a "non-controversy in which the State Department and the Obama administration acted honorably and appropriately."
Despite the letter from the State Department clearly demolishing this non-scandal, some conservative bloggers just won't give up the ghost. Undeterred (as usual) by reality, Jim Hoft responded to the letter by announcing in a headline that the administration "Preferred [Lockerbie Bomber's] Release." This serves as more evidence that Hoft either does not bother to read the things he links to, or that his deranged hatred of the administration is such that it leads him state with a straight face that up is down.
Even more embarrassing than Hoft's post was this inane screed by RedState's Lori Ziganto about how Obama "can't seem to man up." This was posted after the release of the letter, yet completely ignored its existence:
The right-wing media are distorting a U.K. Sunday Times article to claim that the "White House backed [the] release of [the] Lockerbie bomber," Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. In fact, the Sunday Times article right-wing media figures are citing makes clear that "the United States wanted Megrahi to remain imprisoned in view of the nature of the crime."
Conservative media outlets have launched another bogus smear on Shirley Sherrod, attacking her participation in a lawsuit charging the U.S. Department of Agriculture with discrimination against African American farmers. In fact, congressional Republicans and a federal judge agree that the USDA discriminated against African American farmers.
If Fox News, The Washington Times, and Gateway Pundit are all telling you something is true, there's a high likelihood that what they're telling you it isn't the full truth.
A FoxNews.com article asserted that "[t]he Obama administration is offering incentives to Kenya to approve a controversial new constitution that would legalize abortion for the first time." This was followed by Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft claiming that Obama is "accused of illegally funding a pro-abortion referendum in Kenya," using citing the highly biased LifeNews.com as his source. (Bonus: Hoft goes on to repeat the discredited claim that Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga is Obama's "cousin." Hadn't heard that one in a while.) Then, in a July 16 editorial, The Washington Times asserted that the new constitution "explicitly allows a 'trained health professional' to snuff the life of an unborn baby at any stage of a pregnancy."
As can be expected from this triumvirate, the story they are peddling is largely untrue.
The new Kenyan constitution does not legalize abortion, which is already illegal except to save the life of the mother. According to the Associated Press, what the new constitution does is allow a "trained health professional" to make the determination to allow an abortion when the life or health of the mother is endangered.
To argue that allowing a "trained health professional" to determine if a mother's life or health is sufficiently endangered is the same thing as legalizing elective abortion is absurd.
Overstating one's case in contradiction of the facts, as Fox News, Hoft, and the Times do, doesn't exactly instill confidence that anything these folks have to say is true.
Following the NAACP's resolution condemning "the Tea Party's continued tolerance for bigotry and bigoted statements," right-wing media have gone on the defense, going so far as to claim there is "no evidence of racism within the movement." But the NAACP's charge of "racist elements" within the tea party is supported by allegations of racial epithets hurled at African-American congressmen and racially charged signs and slogans from various tea party protests.
Whenever I doubt that there is anything Fox News won't politicize, I am quickly proven wrong. Take, for example, the big scandal surrounding Wonder Woman's new comic book wardrobe that the right-wing cable outlet finds not sufficiently patriotic. I'm not kidding. Mediaite's Jon Bershad brings us the hilarious story:
Apparently the folks at DC Comics have given Wonder Woman a new costume that removes her star-covered hot pants. The reasoning behind the move apparently has to do with current tastes in the medium as well as the fact that it's the year 2010 and she was running around in freaking star-covered hot pants. However, Fox News is blaming another source: the creeping evil of GLOBALISM!
Holy sensationalism, Batman!
From Fox News:
"Wonder Woman may have finally been given a pair of pants, but has she been stripped of her patriotism?
The new and allegedly improved Wonder Woman (a.k.a Diana Prince), has been given a head-to-toe makeover by artist Jim Lee, replacing her signature American flag decorated briefs with skintight black pants and purging the super hero of all her trappings of Americana."
There are so many things to point out here: The fact that Wonder Woman is a Greek demi-goddess and not an American. The fact that she's changed her costume before including once wearing an all-white dress that completely lost the flag look. The fact that, unlike Superman, she was not created to uphold American values but instead to "bring the Amazon ideals of love, peace, and sexual equality." The fact that she was also created so that her creator, a psychologist named William Moulton Marston, could indulge in his love of sadomasochism that he enjoyed in his polyamorous relationship (hence all the lasso bondage). The fact that Fox News is looking for signs of anti-American sentiment in Wonder Woman's costume!
UPDATE: True to form, Geekosystem's Susana Polo has a hilarious post about what Fox News should really attack Wonder Woman for.
Numerous media outlets seized on a dubious January London Sunday Times report which claimed that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2007 statement on Amazon rain forests was "unsubstantiated" and without scientific basis in order to attack the IPCC's credibility and global warming science in general. However, The Sunday Times has now retracted that claim, noting, "In fact, the IPCC's Amazon statement is supported by peer-reviewed scientific evidence." Will these media outlets follow suit?
On the eve of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings, right-wing media pushed numerous myths and falsehoods regarding Kagan's nomination.
The following timeline of 24 hours of Fox News "journalism" demonstrates the networks' willingness to disregard the facts when faced with an opportunity to advance a damaging narrative about the Obama administration.
Yesterday morning, FoxNews.com reported Gabrielle Giffords' (D-AZ) claim that the Department of Education and the U.S. Border Patrol "have joined the 'boycott Arizona' trend and nixed conferences there out of concern over the state's immigration law." The article stated that "FoxNews.com is awaiting response from both agencies," and said "the cancellations ... may have been more out of a desire to steer clear of controversy than outright protest of the law." Nevertheless, the headline on the front page of FoxNews.com asserted as fact that "two federal agencies join the 'boycott Arizona' campaign":
Shortly thereafter, Fox News' America Live, one of Fox's purportedly "straight news" programs, did a segment about "reports now that two government agencies have recently cancelled events planned to happen in Arizona. These are the federal -- this is the federal government cancelling events now, raising questions about whether the feds are now engage in an effort to try to punish Arizona for its new immigration law," in the words of host Megyn Kelly.