Fox News contributor Bill Kristol has recently headed a relentless attack campaign against former Sen. Chuck Hagel after President Obama nominated Hagel to be the next defense secretary. However, Kristol used to speak favorably towards Hagel, only changing his opinion when Hagel voted in favor of a withdrawal timeline for the Iraq War in 2007.
Kristol's opposition to Hagel was on full display today when he took to Fox's America's Newsroom to smear the nominee as anti-Israel.
However, as Think Progress noted, back in 2000, Kristol spoke in favor of Hagel, at one point describing him as an "impressive and attractive first-term senator" with a "decent shot" at becoming the VP for George W. Bush.
What changed? As The New York Times reported on March 28, 2007, Hagel shocked both Republicans and Democrats by voting in favor of a military spending bill that included a withdrawal date for troops in Iraq -- something Republicans were emphatically against. From the Times:
By a vote of 50 to 48, with a few crucial votes shifting in favor of the Democratic position, the Senate rejected a Republican effort to strip from the military spending bill any mention of a withdrawal date. The legislation will now move forward with a provision to begin a gradual withdrawal of American troops from Iraq within 120 days of the measure's enactment, with a nonbinding goal of pulling out by March 31, 2008.
The outcome of the Senate vote took both parties by surprise. Republicans were stung by the defection of Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who has not supported a timetable for withdrawal before although he is his party's most outspoken critic of the war in Congress.
"There will not be a military solution to Iraq," Mr. Hagel declared. "Iraq belongs to the 25 million Iraqis who live there. It doesn't belong to the United States. Iraq is not a prize to be won or lost."
Watch as Kristol turned on the former Senator he once called "impressive and attractive," instead describing him as "irresponsible," during the March 27, 2007, edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:
PBS' Frontline recently aired a documentary titled "Climate of Doubt," examining how conservative groups, frequently funded by the fossil fuel industry, have pushed Republicans to reject the scientific consensus on manmade global warming. Here, Media Matters looks back at how Fox News has contributed to that "Climate of Doubt," often teaming up with industry to misrepresent science and attack all efforts to address this threat.
Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC all covered a 2001 study by psychiatrist Dr. Robert Spitzer that purported to show that a "change in one's sexual orientation was possible." Anti-gay groups claiming homosexuality is a choice have repeatedly cited the study. Last month, Spitzer retracted the study, and while MSNBC covered Spitzer's retraction, neither CNN nor Fox has done so, according to the Nexis database.
On September 20 Fox News' nightly news program, Special Report, covered an error made by the British Times Atlas of the World which overstated Greenland ice loss. The mistake was quickly pointed out by scientists, and the publisher of the atlas eventually apologized. It was the first time Special Report mentioned Greenland in three years.
One of the key questions in climate change science is how much of Greenland's ice will end up in the ocean and how quickly. Located in the Arctic -- where temperatures are rising faster than anywhere else -- the massive Greenland ice sheet contains enough water to raise sea levels by 20 feet. A shift that size would take centuries to unfold, but smaller changes in the ice can also have significant consequences for our coastal communities.
Summer ice sheet melt in Greenland "has increased 30 percent over the past 30 years," according to a National Research Council report, and 2010 was a record breaking year for surface melt. NOAA's Arctic Report Card, released in October 2010, states that "there is now clear evidence that the ice area loss rate of the past decade (averaging 120 km2/year) is greater than loss rates pre-2000."
The ice sheet is losing about 200 cubic kilometers of ice annually and adding 0.6 mm per year to global sea level rise, according to Cambridge University's Scott Polar Research Institute. A NASA study also reported earlier this year that "the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass at an accelerating pace" and "are overtaking ice loss from Earth's mountain glaciers and ice caps to become the dominant contributor to global sea level rise, much sooner than model forecasts have predicted."
But none of these developments made it onto Fox News' Special Report. In fact, a Nexis search indicates that for each of the 4 times the program reported on climate change in Greenland over the past 5 years, Fox selected stories that downplayed the dangers of global warming while ignoring all of the research documenting rapid changes in the ice.
Specifically, I'm referring to Fox News' equivalent of its nightly newscast, Special Report, and how the show has been completely derelict in recent years in reporting about the birth of Jesus Christ, as well as doing news pieces on the true meaning of Christmas.
I noticed this deplorable trend only after reading a new conservative media report, Christmas Without Christ, which criticizes the network evening news shows for not mentioning the deity often enough in its Christmas reports. Put together by the Media Research Center's Culture and Media Institute, the survey scolded (liberal!) news teams at the networks:
The true message of Christmas, the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ, has simply been ignored by the mainstream media.
Instead, Brent Bozell's crack staff found that most of the so-called Christmas news reports dealt with the "holiday's impact on the economy, weather, travel, retail sales," etc.
The conservative report concluded the nets ought to:
Talk about Christ during Christmas. The effort to make God obsolete in evening news reports about Christmas is simply futile when one considers that, according to a 2008 Pew Research Poll, nearly 80 percent of Americans consider themselves to be Christian.
Interview Christians and those who celebrate Christmas by remembering its true meaning.
Go to various churches to find stories about Christmas.
Cover more positive stories about the spirit of giving and those who reflect Christ during this special season.
But here's the thing, if Media Research Center had bothered to look back at the transcripts for Fox News' Special Report, it would have found pretty much the exact same trend: Very few stories about Christ as the messiah. Very few reports about "the true meaning" of Christmas. And very few reports originating in churches.
What the researches would have found though, were Special Report news references to Christmas regarding retail sales, lighting the national Christmas tree, U.S. troops serving overseas during the Christmas season, and yes, the prerequisite Fox News-sponsored updates about the dopey War on Christmas.
My conclusion: Fox News seems bent on taking the Christ out of Christmas.
UPDATED: And here's your irony alert of the day, as Bozell appears on Fox News this morning to bemoan how the network news shows don't report about the birth of Jesus. (Is that breaking news?) Yet he politely ignores the fact that Fox News itself is guilty of the same dopey Christmas crime Bozell is alleging.
Fox News' Brit Hume claimed that the stimulus "manifestly failed" to "get the unemployment rate down." This claim flies in the face of the economic consensus, as economists believe the stimulus raised GDP and increased employment and "substantial[ly]" boosted GDP.
In June, Fox News figures downplayed job growth numbers by pointing out that many of the jobs created were temporary census positions. Now, those same Fox figures are hyping net job losses over the summer while ignoring that the losses are largely explained by the conclusion of those same temporary census positions.
Conservative media have claimed the White House's controversial conversations with Rep. Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff -- which have been described by experts as "garden-variety politics" -- constituted criminal activity. But when Bush administration official Scooter Libby was investigated, tried, and convicted, conservative media decried it as "criminalizing politics."
From the May 28 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
Loading the player ...
From the May 24 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
Loading the player ...
From the December 17 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
Loading the player ...
Conservative media figures have suggested that President Obama's actions during his recent trip to Europe and the Middle East were motivated by a desire to be liked, rather than by U.S. interests.
Hume added of MRC: "I don't know what we would have done without them"
From the Media Research Center's 2009 Gala, "[f]eaturing the DisHonors Awards and the William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence":
HUME: I want to say a word, however, of thanks, to [Media Research Center president] Brent [Bozell] and to the team at the Media Research Center and all the contributors who make that work there possible. Not just for this wonderfully - this wonderfully fine award in the name of someone as I say I admire so much, but also for the tremendous amount of material that the Media Research Center provided me for so many years when I was anchoring Special Report. I don't know what we would have done without them. It was a daily, sort of a buffet of material to work from, and we - we -- we certainly made tremendous use of it.
Summary: On Special Report, Major Garrett falsely accused President-elect Obama of making an untrue assertion when Obama said that the 2.589 million jobs lost in 2008 were "the most since World War II." In fact, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there has been no greater net job decline in any calendar year since the end of World War II than occurred in 2008.
Reports have claimed that former CIA official John Brennan "withdrew from consideration" as President-elect Barack Obama's choice for CIA director because of criticism from "liberal groups" that "his tenure coincided with controversial Bush administration programs" -- or, in the words of Fox News' Jim Angle, "the left ... torpedoed" Brennan "because he was part of the war on terror over the last decade." But these outlets did not mention that Brennan was not simply at the CIA at the same time as the interrogation and rendition policies were instituted or carried out but, in fact, has publicly supported them.