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Todd Gregory

Author ››› Todd Gregory
  • Glenn Beck's Top 5 Embarrassing Failures

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    5. Glenn Beck Cannot Spell. On the August 27, 2009, edition of his show, Glenn Beck took to the chalkboard to review topics supposedly related to President Obama. He was attempting to create an abbreviation that spelled a word. What did he wind up with?

    "OLIGARH":

    On his show the next day, Beck explained that his misspelling proved that "you can't spell 'oligarch' without the czars."

    Beck gave an encore performance on July 8, 2010, when he said his next show would be about the "history of heroes and villains in the textbooks." The chalkboard behind him asked, "Heros or Villians?":

  • Fox's Bolling Issues Brief, Dishonest Apology For "Hoodlum[s]" In "The Hizzouse" Segment

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    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.

  • Fox's Eric Bolling: Obama Is Hosting "Hoodlum[s]" In "The Hizzouse"

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    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":

  • Another Episode Of Stossel, Another Ridiculous Stunt

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    Thursday night on Fox Business, John Stossel used about seven minutes of his show to host a "debate" between former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and an actor who impersonates President Obama.

    This follows up a similar "debate" that Stossel hosted in April between the Obama impersonator and Rep. Ron Paul.

    The idea is that Stossel -- and, presumably, his libertarian-leaning presidential candidates -- couldn't really book a debate with Obama, so an imitation will have to do.

    This also calls to mind Stossel's Fox News special from March called Freeloaders, in which he dressed up as a "beggar" and panhandled for change:

    Stossel begs for change

    (Stossel also spent some time during Freeloaders misleading his viewers about the settlement of a racial discrimination case against the U.S. Department of Agriculture brought by black farmers.)

    It's unclear whether Stossel thinks these ideological theatrics will shake up viewers and get them to reconsider their positions, or if they're simply a ploy for ratings. Maybe both?

    Whatever they are, it's pretty clear that they're not news.

  • Fox Is Silent On Report Of Ailes' Unprecedented Political Activism

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    After New York magazine reported that Fox News president Roger Ailes thinks Sarah Palin is an "idiot," Fox issued a prickly denial. Fox News vice president of programming Bill Shine gave this statement on the matter to The New York Times:

    "I know for a fact that Roger Ailes admires and respects Sarah Palin and thinks she is smart. He also believes many members of the left-wing media are extremely terrified and threatened by her. Despite a massive effort to destroy Sarah Palin, she is still on her feet and making a difference in the political world. As for the 'Republican close to Ailes' for which the incorrect Palin quote is attributed, when Roger figures out who that is, I guarantee you he or she will no longer be 'close to Ailes.' "

    This quote drew a good deal of attention, given that, as a Fox News contributor, Palin is Ailes' employee. But from a journalistic standpoint, another point in the story is even more noteworthy. New York also reported that Ailes recently "encouraged" Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) to "jump into" the presidential race.

    This illustrates a stunning level of political activism from the head of what is purportedly a newsgathering operation. Imagine how conservatives would react if it were reported that Ailes' analogue at ABC News, Ben Sherwood, had pressured a prominent Democrat to challenge Obama in a primary.

    Despite the damage this reporting does to the charade about Fox News being "fair and balanced," Fox hasn't seen fit to deny these aspects of New York's article. Media Matters' calls to Fox News for comment were not returned.

    If Fox isn't willing to dispute this report, that goes a long way toward settling the matter officially: Fox News isn't news. It's GOP political activism.

  • Ailes Reportedly "Fell Hard" For Chris Christie -- So Did Fox News

    ››› ››› TODD GREGORY & KAREN FAMIGHETTI

    New York magazine reports that Fox News CEO Roger Ailes "fell hard" for Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and recently "encouraged him to jump into" the Republican presidential race. Fox News similarly "fell hard" for Christie, with on-air figures lavishing praise on him, asking him about a presidential bid, and giving him ample airtime in the run-up to his 2009 election.

  • "Restoring Courage" In Jerusalem: Glenn Beck's Latest Self-Aggrandizing Spectacle

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    Glenn Beck announced today that he will hold a rally in Jerusalem in August, called "Restoring Courage" -- sticking with the theme of his Washington, D.C., rally last August, "Restoring Honor."

    On his radio show, Beck immediately started in on the hyperbole. After discussing the details of the event, Beck warned his followers that "the very gates of hell are gonna open up against us" and declared, "I believe we live in historic times. I believe historians will remember what we do and what we say."

    Restoring Courage will be "the same kind of feel that you experienced" at Restoring Honor, Beck said, "except I will tell you: much more profound. This is a life-changing, life-altering event." Beck even said that the rally would "define" its participants: "This will be a -- I think, a pinnacle moment in your life. It will define you. In the end, this event will define you." Beck continued the hyperbole on his TV show today, paraphrasing the Gettysburg Address to say that at his rally in Jerusalem, "possibly for the first time in man's history, God will remember and make note of what we do there."

    Beck also did some heavy managing of expectations about what will constitute success for Restoring Courage (he estimated a trip to the event would cost $4,500): "It'll be a godsend if we get seven people there."

    All this is in keeping with Beck's breathtaking capacity for self-promotion. When he's not doing his TV or radio show, he's publishing novels or doing live shows, all while hyping each venture in every other venue.

    There is perhaps no better example of this than Beck's outrageous predictions about his Restoring Honor rally.

  • Only On Fox Business: Questions About Whether Bin Laden Is Dead

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    Andrew Napolitano, host of Fox Business' Freedom Watch and a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, used his first show after the announcement of Osama bin Laden's death to raise questions about whether the government is "telling us the truth or pulling a fast one to save Obama's lousy presidency." He also asked a guest, "Do you believe he's dead, or do you want some more evidence? A photograph, a testimony of an eyewitness? Something other than the words of a president whose words we have doubted before?"

    To characterize Monday's episode of Freedom Watch as "bizarre" would be charitable. He began the show by declaring, "Osama bin Laden assassinated. Killed on the illegal whim of the president." In one of his monologues on the topic, Napolitano again appeared to acknowledge that bin Laden is dead: "As we know from today's reaction across the country, from Republicans and Democrats and liberals and conservatives, the demise of this monster has brought great joy and unity."

    Then, later in his comments, Napolitano said Obama made the announcement about bin Laden's death "with an eye on his lagging poll numbers and the sickening economy over which he presides." (He didn't explain how he knew Obama had his "eye" on these things.) He then went on his "lousy presidency" rant:

    NAPOLITANO: But last night a little before midnight here on the east coast, President Obama, with an eye on his lagging poll numbers and the sickening economy over which he presides, announced in a quick 40 minutes of time, 40 of America's best Navy SEALs found bin Laden, asked him to surrender and when he declined, blew his brains out. And then he told us after bin Laden's remains were identified they were dumped at sea, in accordance with Muslim tradition. No photos, no testimony from eyewitnesses, just the president's word that he's dead and, to repeat a famous phrase, now sleeps with the fishes.

    Of course, the burial at sea is new to most Americans. It is new to many Muslims as well. Bin Laden belonged to a Muslim sect that believes in anonymous burial in the earth. Beyond the issue of whether the government is telling us the truth or pulling a fast one to save Obama's lousy presidency, is the issue of the lawful power of the president to order someone killed, no matter how monstrous, how dangerous, or how unpopular.

  • Glenn Beck Self-Detonates His Two-Year Campaign Of Guilt By Association

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    Glenn Beck has spent the past two years on his Fox News show smearing anyone who has even thought the word "socialist" as an imminent danger to the American way of life. Tonight on his show, he obliterated any meaning his attacks ever had by gushing over a book written by an author he acknowledged was a "socialist" and a huge fan of one of Beck's favorite bogeymen, Woodrow Wilson.

    Beck declared that the book, The Holy Experiment, is "brilliant, and it has the answers":

    Beck also said the author, Violet Oakley, was "very progressive -- loved Woodrow Wilson. I mean, just a nightmare. I don't want to have dinner with her, but it's a beautiful, beautiful book":

    In short: It's OK for Glenn Beck to like socialist stuff, just not other people.

    So much for that.

  • Right-Wing Media Throw A Fit About Obama Not Issuing Easter "Proclamation"

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    Conservative media outlets are very upset that President Obama didn't issue a "proclamation" for Easter this year.

    For example, here's the segment Sean Hannity did on the topic with his "Great American Panel" last night:

    Hannity's setup prompted panelist Nancy Pfotenhauer, a Republican strategist, to call it "a mistake, a political error of such magnitude that it almost defies explanation. I mean, it leaves people thinking that he is either hostile or indifferent."

    This faux controversy stems mainly from a post on Fox Nation, News Corp.'s race-baiting birther website, and it all turns on playing cute with the term "proclamation."

    Despite assertions by the right-wing media to the contrary, presidential proclamations have not historically marked religious holidays. As Little Green Footballs blogger Charles Johnson noted, presidents going back through at least 1980 have not released a proclamation about Easter.

    Obama has indeed released other kinds of statements marking a variety of religious holidays, but like his predecessors, he has not made them "proclamations."

    In addition, Obama held an Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House last week. And yes, video and transcript of his remarks at the breakfast are available on the White House website. (Rush Limbaugh already attacked the substance of those comments last week.)

    As usual, the Obamas hosted the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday, and Obama also mentioned Easter in his most recent weekly address.

    If this attack from conservative media outlets isn't about casting doubt on Obama's Christianity, then what is it about? The specific labeling that Obama's comments on Easter receive?

    C'mon.