Eric Bolling apologized Monday night on Fox Business for his story saying that President Obama is hosting "hoodlum[s]" in "the hizzouse":
BOLLING: One editorial note. On Friday, we did a story about the president meeting with the president of Gabon. We got a little fast and loose with the language, and we know it's been interpreted as being disrespectful, and for that, I'm sorry. We did go a bit too far. More Follow the Money coming up in just a minute.
This is a dishonest apology for several reasons.
First, it's simply not true that the problems on his Friday show consisted of him and his guests getting "a little fast and loose with the language." Some of the most racially inflammatory language Bolling used on his Friday show was in the two teases for the segment, both of which were apparently scripted and accompanied by equally inflammatory images.
During the opening of Fox Business' Follow the Money on Friday, Eric Bolling teased a segment about the White House hosting the president of Gabon by saying, "Guess who's coming to dinner? A dictator. Mr. Obama shares a laugh with one of Africa's kleptocrats. It's not the first time he's had a hoodlum in the hizzouse."
During the tease, an image appeared of Obama meeting with the Gabonese president, Ali Bongo, at the White House:
As Bolling said that Obama had previously hosted "a hoodlum in the hizzouse," footage of the rapper Common aired:
The inclusion of Common may not make much sense to people who aren't regular viewers of Fox News -- it's a reference to the right-wing media's ginned-up smear of him as a "'cop killer' rapper" in the days before his recent performance at the White House.
Later in the show, Bolling teased the segment again: "Smile for the birdie. Our president's sitting with one of Africa's most wanted. It's not the first time he's had a hood in the big crib."
This time, an image of Bongo with a flashing tooth showed up as Bolling said, "Smile for the birdie":
Download Fox News' brand new iPad app and you'll notice something curious: there's an ExxonMobil advertisement on nearly every page, sometimes filling the whole screen. Click on it and you can watch a video of a smiling ExxonMobil geologist touting the natural gas boom. As the tech news website Mashable reported, this is because "Exxon is the exclusive launch partner for Fox News' iPad app":
"We decided we wanted to work with one sponsor," [Fox News' Jeremy] Steinberg said, explaining that there are always question marks surrounding a launch, so Fox News wanted a partner comfortable with that. He said Exxon, which is in the midst of a new branding campaign, thought the app was a perfect platform for broadcasting its message.
It makes sense that one of the biggest funders of interest groups that obfuscate the threat posed by global warming would team up with the news outlet that has done more than any other to promote misinformation about climate science.
The partnership further undermines ExxonMobil's 2008 pledge to stop funding groups "whose positions on climate change could divert attention" from the need to develop secure, clean energy. As an internal email revealed last year, it has been the policy of Fox News to question even the basic fact that the planet has warmed in recent decades.
Climate change is not the only issue on which ExxonMobil might find Fox News' coverage agreeable. Last month in the midst of both soaring profits for big oil and attempts by Congressional Democrats to roll back oil companies' tax breaks, ExxonMobil's spin could be heard on Fox News.
With the notable exception of Bill O'Reilly, many on Fox eagerly passed along talking points first outlined by ExxonMobil vice president of public affairs Ken Cohen in a series of blog posts designed to preempt any backlash against Exxon's massive first quarter earnings report.
Less than week after fearmongering that if states stop participating in Secured Communities -- a federal deportation program begun under the Bush administration that may result in serial killers being on the loose -- Fox News was back at it, attacking states for not participating in the program.
On Fox News' America's Newsroom, Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse claimed that states opting out of the Secure Communities program is "mutiny" and is "undermining" current federal policy "and the rule of law" at the behest of "the Latino lobby." La Jeunesse's report then got really muddled. While showing a graphic, he falsely asserted that immigrants identified by the Secured Communities program either "had existing criminal convictions" or were "typically arrested for misdemeanors."
LA JEUNESSE: Secured Communities -- the program is a cornerstone of the president's immigration policy, which says, for illegals here, you work hard, you keep your nose clean, you get to stay. You break the law, you go home. But now the Latino lobby is pushing back. And this mutiny by states like Illinois, New York, Massachusetts are undermining that policy and the rule of law.
Now under the program, a criminal's fingerprints are run, not just with the FBI, but also DHS. DHS ran about 8 million fingerprints. Some 500,000 of those were immigrants, mostly illegals. About 200,000 were scheduled to be deported. About three-quarters had existing criminal convictions from murder to shoplifting. The rest arrested for misdemeanors like driving without a license. Now it is this group, the final group that some are -- some states that is -- are refusing to turn over to the feds even though supporters say even non-felons can be dangerous.
In fact, as La Jeunesse himself acknowledged later in the report, 70 percent of undocumented immigrants processed through the Secure Communities program had been convicted of a crime -- whether a misdemeanor or a felony, meaning that 30 percent were not convicted of any crime.
Fox News' America Live repeated the accusation that undocumented immigrants have increased crime rates in Hazleton, Pennsylvannia. However, America Live failed to report that the there is no evidence supporting the accusation, or that there is no evidence that undocumented immigrants have higher crime rates nationwide.
The charge was negligent homicide.
Incensed by a New York Post "exclusive" last winter about "arrogant" union sanitation workers who purposefully failed to plow local streets in the aftermath of a crippling blizzard in order to protest department budget cuts, some members of the GOP Noise Machine, having whipped themselves into a union-hating frenzy, suggested the worker were actually guilty of criminal misconduct.
The Post's plow story, which was thoroughly debunked by a just-completed city investigation, and which the right-wing media now remain universally silent about, presents us with a depressing case study of how so-called "conservative journalism" often works today. (And especially how Rupert Murdoch-bankrolled journalism works.)
As illustrated by the Post's hollow, union bashing "exclusive," as well as by the far-right press' feral hyping of the concocted story, conservative journalism is often nothing more than sloppy propaganda designed to deceive and to inflame partisan passions. It' a nasty brand of misinformation and operates outside any discernible ethical guidelines, which accounts for its fleeting interesting in truthful reporting, as well as its dedicated lack of accountability.
In the wake of the Anthony Weiner scandal, members of the conservative media are demanding respect for getting the story right. But they're conveniently forgetting about a whole laundry list of previous smear campaigns they peddled and have never apologized for.
This was the Post's outlandish claim:
Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts — a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.
New York's Strongest used a variety of tactics to drag out the plowing process -- and pad overtime checks -- which included keeping plows slightly higher than the roadways and skipping over streets along their routes, the sources said.
Keep in mind that city investigators have now determined that virtually nothing in the Post's breathless "exclusive" was accurate.
In other words, it was a hoax.
Media Matters analyzed television news guests who discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's role in regulating greenhouse gas emissions from December 2009 through April 2011. Driven largely by Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, results show that in 76 percent of those appearances, the guest was opposed to EPA regulations while 18 percent were in favor. Of the appearances by elected officials, 86 percent were Republican. Only one guest in 17 months of coverage across nine news outlets was a climate scientist -- industry-funded Patrick Michaels.
MSNBC host Ed Schultz will be placed on unpaid administrative leave for a week after he made sexist comments on his radio show directed at conservative commentator and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham. Schultz issued an apology for the comments Wednesday night.
Holding employees accountable when they make unacceptable comments as Schultz did, is how a news organization behaves. Indeed, it's the way that any responsible organization behaves.
But accountability for unacceptable rhetoric has no apparent place at Fox.
Beck infamously accused President Obama of being a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture." Beck faced no demonstrable accountability at Fox for this statement.
Just this week, Fox's Eric Bolling criticized Obama for traveling to Europe for the G-8 summit, outrageously claiming that Obama was "chugging a few 40s" rather than attending to tragic tornadoes in Missouri. (Local officials have praised the White House for its response to the disaster.) Bolling has been widely criticized for making "racially tinged" comments, but to date there has been no accountability for his comments at Fox.
There was no apparent accountability for Sean Hannity when in 2009 he refused to criticize "friend and frequent guest of the program" Ted Nugent for calling Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a "worthless bitch."
Or when Glenn Beck accused George Soros of helping to "send the Jews" to "death camps," and repeatedly invoked anti-Semitic stereotypes in attacking Soros, leading to condemnation from several Jewish groups.
Or when Fox's Brian Kilmeade referred to women as "babes," "chicks," and "skirts" during a discussion of consumer car preferences.
Or when Fox's Dave Briggs said that women in Congress might secure more "pork" for their home districts because they are "more irrational," and that men in Congress "are thinking through this more."
Or when Kilmeade discussed sanctuary spaces created in homes for men and women and asked co-host Gretchen Carlson, "Didn't men give you the kitchen?"
Accountability is what happens at a real news network. But Fox isn't news.
In a May 22 New York magazine article, Tea Party Express founder Sal Russo boasted that "there would not have been a tea party without Fox." Indeed, Russo is correct: Media Matters has extensively documented Fox News' relentless promotion of the Tea Party Express.
In an extensive piece for New York Magazine, Gabriel Sherman reports that Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon "angered Fox's political reporters, who saw him pushing coverage further to the right than they were comfortable with." Sherman writes:
Meanwhile, Hume's replacement, Bill Sammon, a former Washington Times correspondent, angered Fox's political reporters, who saw him pushing coverage further to the right than they were comfortable with. Days after Obama's inauguration, an ice storm caused major damage throughout the Midwest. At an editorial meeting in the D.C. bureau, Sammon told producers that Fox should compare Obama's response to Bush's handling of Katrina. "Bush got grief for Katrina," Sammon said.
"It's too early; give him some time to respond," a producer shot back. "This ice storm isn't Katrina."
Media Matters has documented that Fox News' Bill Sammon problem has further tarnished the network's credibility and called into question the purported wall between its "opinion" and "news" divisions. Sources familiar with the situation have told Media Matters that the DC bureau is slanting more to the right in recent years under Bill Sammon. Sammon became Washington managing editor in February 2009 after serving as deputy managing editor since August 2008.
New York magazine is out with an extensive profile of Fox News chief Roger Ailes that details the significant role he plays in conservative politics. Furthering the evidence that Fox News is simply a campaign arm of the GOP, the piece quotes an anonymous Republican aide who states that "You can't run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger," and notes that Ailes actively encouraged Republican Governor Chris Christie to run for president. Ailes also apparently doesn't think too highly of his employee, Sarah Palin, who, according to a source close to Ailes, he thinks "is an idiot." From the article:
A few months ago, Ailes called Chris Christie and encouraged him to jump into the race. Last summer, he'd invited Christie to dinner at his upstate compound along with Rush Limbaugh, and like much of the GOP Establishment, he fell hard for Christie, who nevertheless politely turned down Ailes's calls to run. Ailes had also hoped that David Petraeus would run for president, but Petraeus too has decided to sit this election out, choosing to stay on the counterterrorism front lines as the head of Barack Obama's CIA. The truth is, for all the antics that often appear on his network, there is a seriousness that underlies Ailes's own politics. He still speaks almost daily with George H. W. Bush, one of the GOP's last great moderates, and a war hero, which especially impresses Ailes.
All the 2012 candidates know that Ailes is a crucial constituency. "You can't run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger," one GOPer told me. "Every single candidate has consulted with Roger." But he hasn't found any of them, including the adults in the room--Jon Huntsman, Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney--compelling. "He finds flaws in every one," says a person familiar with his thinking.
"He thinks things are going in a bad direction," another Republican close to Ailes told me. "Roger is worried about the future of the country. He thinks the election of Obama is a disaster. He thinks Palin is an idiot. He thinks she's stupid. He helped boost her up. People like Sarah Palin haven't elevated the conservative movement."
The entire article is worth a read and includes revelations that Ailes threatened to quit in 2008 if News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch endorsed Barack Obama, and that Ailes thought that Obama's call for a new civilian corp meant that the president wanted to create a "national police force," a conspiracy theory that Glenn Beck has since adopted.
Check the whole thing out here.
Fox News defends its credibility as a legitimate news outlet by claiming that there is a dividing line between its news and opinion programming. Purported "straight news" anchor Martha MacCallum, however, has a long record of echoing GOP talking points to advocate for conservative policies.
Fox Business Network repeatedly promoted a controversial oil shale venture in Israel without disclosing that Rupert Murdoch -- the head of Fox's parent company -- is one of the project's most prominent investors.
Last year, News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch joined the "Strategic Advisory Board" of Genie Energy, and purchased an equity stake in Genie Oil and Gas, which consists of Genie Energy's interests in oil shale initiatives on federal land in Western Colorado and in Israel's Elah Valley. Genie Energy -- which is a division of IDT Corporation, a global telecommunications company -- has attracted several other high-profile advisers and investors, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, Lord Jacob Rothschild, and Michael Steinhardt, a prominent hedge fund investor and philanthropist.
Extracting oil from shale has long enticed investors and those seeking a route to energy independence, but no company has yet proved a way to make the process both commercially viable and environmentally sound. Genie Energy's experimental drilling methods -- which seek to reduce the high levels of water use and greenhouse gas emissions typically associated with shale development -- are still in the pilot phase.
On three consecutive days last month, Fox Business promoted Genie Energy's project in Israel -- known as Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI) -- yet never disclosed Murdoch's financial stake in it.
Led by Fox's Andrew Napolitano, right-wing media figures have embraced yet another conspiracy theory aimed at attacking President Obama: that Osama bin Laden might not be dead. Right-wing media have previously promoted the false conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in United States and the myth that Obama is a Muslim.