Fox and Conservative Pals Out Spreading More Slander and Libel

Welcome the flacks. I don’t get many comments on stories here at MaisonBisson, so I was interested when I found a comment to my story about the Outfoxed documentary just an hour after I’d posted it.

Here’s my theory, and it’s supported by stories in Eric Alterman’s What Liberal Media and Al Franken’s Lies: conservative groups spend a huge amount of time identifying and attacking every liberal criticism. This mysterious Matt (perhaps from Ohio?) is a brownshirt on a mission. Are such personal attacks fair? No, but neither are Matt’s attempts to reframe my stories. It’s that reframing that so identifies the comments as conservative.

Answer the point, Matt. The question is about Fox news, an organization soundly criticized as biased and inaccurate by darn near every liberal, a bunch of centrists, and even a number of it’s own staff. You’re rhetorically and logically wrong to think you can disprove that by claiming other sources are more biased. But that’s how conservatives work: think Obi Wan as a republican saying “this is not the argument you’re looking for. You liberals should go chase your tail while we rewrite the constitution and shift your tax money to the rich.” Or something like that.

And that’s what’s happening in Matt’s comments to the Farenheit 9/11 story. Oh no! “Farenheit 9/11 contradicts itself.” But the Hitchins quote you offer as proof is less coherent than he claims the movie was. Here’s a fact, and let me suggest you watch Fog of War and read some psychology texts to understand it, people are not always logical, reasonable, or consistent. Furthermore, it seems people — heads of state included — will often tolerate extreme cognitive dissonance while in pursuit of money and power. The Hitchins quote plainly illustrates this fact, further darkening the sad conclusions Moore makes.

I will, however, compliment Hitchins’ rhetorical style. The play of equally unlikely and exaggerated opposites (“they do, or they do not; he is, or he isn’t”) create a lulling rhythm that leads nowhere, but appears sound.

As for Moore’s facts, let me repeat what I wrote in my earlier story: “Collectively, Bushwacked, Lies, and The Iron Triangle all lead the reader to the same conclusion Moore comes to. These authors’ references show a diversity of well researched primary sources — including government documents and qualified informants — that paint a fairly clear picture. It’s this brush that Moore uses for Fahrenheit 9/11.” I’ll gladly listen to any equally detailed and documented rebuttal, but please, no more empty accusations and false claims.

Finally, however, I’m amused by the apparent criticism of Moore for suggesting that troops should never have been sent to Iraq. That’s the point. Isn’t it? Our troops are suffering death and disability and and our nation deficits and diminished civil liberties in a war with no end in sight. This like like Vietnam and McCarthyism all it once if you think you can silence Moore and others for saying so.

[UPDATE]: Matt’s still at it….

Fox News is undoubtedly the most conservative news channel, and any argument to the contrary is intentionally misleading or stupid. Anybody who can count can tell you that Hannity gets three times as much air time as Colmes, and a mildly perceptive time counter will tell you that Colmes’ boss, Hannity, doesn’t allow him any time or opportunity to cross, correct, or criticize him. And that’s what happens when centrists are allowed any voice at all. Yes, one example is sufficient to characterize the entire network.

The problem isn’t that Fox News is biased, anybody who understands the history of journalism can tell you that the idea of unbiased news coverage developed sometime during WWII, peaked around 1970, and has been fading since. Democracy actually thrives amidst the cacophony of biased news outlets, so long as there is diversity and sufficient numbers of them. The complaint against Fox News is that they falsely claim the banner of “fair and balanced” despite contradictory evidence.

This is one of the reasons that former Fox News news anchor Jon Du Pre is speaking out against the channel. This is why former contributor Jeff Cohen is doing the same.

What is reframing? I put up a story about Outfoxed, you try to dismiss the argument with a comment that claims the source is too liberal to be listened to. I put up a story about Fahrenheit 9/11, again you try to dismiss it by claiming Moore is self contradictory. Another reader comments that he too has a family member in Iraq and is glad to find bumper stickers with a message he appreciates, and you dismiss him too. You ask what it means to (attempt to) reframe these stories? Clearly you know better than I do. Not once have you addressed the facts of any of these stories; you’ve made no attempt to demonstrate contradictory evidence.

What makes a liberal or conservative? The authors I name use primary evidence to discuss facts. Facts, by definition, can be neither liberal nor conservative. The authors don’t agree with my perspective, they’ve presented logical arguments based on independent evidence. That these authors make conclusions based on these facts that are offensive to people like yourself does not make them or their work liberal. You paint yourself as a conservative by claiming they’re liberals. Once again, these are facts, and nothing you’ve written here contradicts them.

But you knew that, you knew all of this. Why would you write such misleading comments in this blog, so far from the rest of the world? What motivation could you have? In the big picture, this conservative sniping serves a purpose, and I have to commend your efforts. But aren’t they sort of wasted here? In a larger forum, there’d be at least one idiot who didn’t see through you and would instead join with in wearing me or another blogger down with endless arguments about points off from my message.

Today, my message is about how conservatives like yourself are doing everything they can to snuff the flames of opposition. I’m up for a debate, but this isn’t debate. It’s a delay and distraction tactic. So here are your options: reveal yourself and enter a real debate with evidence to back your arguments (include citations), or leave. Further comments that do not meet this criteria will be edited or deleted as the commercial speech they are. This is an odd decision to make, as I believe strongly in the first amendment protects to free speech, but I also agree with the courts that commercial speech is subject to lesser protections. Further, I won’t let my blog, a media I pay for, be used as a mouthpiece for lies and deception in support of a candidate and ideology I oppose. That is to say, you can’t have both Fox News and my blog, but I’d gladly trade.

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8 thoughts on “Fox and Conservative Pals Out Spreading More Slander and Libel

  1. 2.) The idea that Fox News Channel, who employs both liberals and conservatives, who invites both liberals and conservatives to appear “On air” is somehow less biased then a film made entirely from one perspective is fallacious. Liberals such as Alan Combs and Joe Trippi regularly appear on FNC to voice their opinions. Can you name any conservatives associated with MoveOn.org or “Outfoxed” ? Can you name a single instance where either the movie or the website deviates from a far left perspective ?

    2A.) The slogan, “Fair and Balanced” illustrates FNC’s emphasis on presenting all sides of an issue. The movie and the website have no similar slogan or ideal as a goal.

    2B.) Name a member of the FNC staff who has criticized the channel for having a bias. I highly doubt such a thing exists.

    2C.) It’s hypocritical to criticize me for expressing my viewpoint using Al Franken and Eric Alterman. They only criticize my expression because it’s not far left. Should my expression have been liberal it would have been (very much like their own) and completely acceptable. They wouldn’t argue there’s anything wrong with criticism, because if there was, they’d both be unemployed.

    *** I’ll finish the rest of my response when I’ve got the disposable time. ***

  2. 1.) How are my comments conservative? Simply because you present a far left point of view that I disagree with, does that automatically make me a conservative? I’d call my comments legitimate and centrist. “It’s the re-framing that so identifies the comments as conservative.” This sounds like logic that says, “If it’s not black – it must be white,” which is absurd.

    1B.) You’ve referred to my comments as unfair. How are they unfair and how are they any different from your responses to them? Are they only unfair because they dissent from your view point? That’s sure how you make it sound.

    1C.) Only conservative groups identify and attack through criticism? What about Michel Moore? What about yourself? Maybe I’m mixed up and only liberals have the right to criticize.

    1D.) You’re using sources that are pre-determined to agree with your perspective. This is like asking the manager of McDonald’s about Burger King hamburgers – it’s biased and proves nothing.

    1E.) Which “Personal attacks” were these? I’ve never attacked you personally, only your far left ideology. What’s unfair is that you’ve resorted to ad hominem attacks rather then responding to sincere criticism. This is specifically demonstrated in your reference to me as a “brown shirt.”

    1F.) How did I re-frame your stories? Nothing was taken out of context – I only commented upon what you wrote. IF that’s re-framing then how are you not guilty of the same in your response?

  3. I just happened upon your blog, and I’m definitely coming back. You’re very literate, and I like how you present your arguments.

  4. I have a few comments to make about what Casey had to say about Fox and bias. Just because a few people who worked in an organization say that the organization is biased does not make it so. I remember hearing a debate on crossfire years ago about media bias. Robert Novak made the comment that all of his collegues in the media were liberal and that he was concerned at the number of liberals in the media. I heard a lady who worked at the L.A. times tell of how she was considered the lone conservative there. Both of these individuals were complaining about a bias in the news organization they worked in. What they said wasnt nessessarily proof that their environment was biased but was cause for concern and further investigation.

    The media research center has shown statistics on media converage. A hot button issue will be discussed nationally and the network news shows and CNN will give more air time to those who discuss the issue from a liberal point of view. I can’t speak for Fox but I can bet some conservatives saw something like this happening and had the idea of making a news station where both libs and cons get the same air time.

    Well, I will admit I cant say for certainty that that happens of Fox. Three or four of the news shows on that channel are hosted by cons. But they seem to try and get an equal number of lib and con guests. The other news blocks either give you the news straight or have a panel of people with mixed views. I know they hired Gretta Van Sustren lately and it would seem they did so in order to add another lib to the evening line up. Cal Thomas is very layed back and does not challenge much of what liberals say on his weeekend show. And I’d like proof that the producers give more air time to Hannity. I watch that show quite a bit and they both seem to get equal amounts of time. I am kinda being the devils advocate for Fox. I realize they may well be doing what they complain CNN does but I’d like more prove before I will cry con bias there. I get my news from a variety of news outlets and have never seen something that the libs view as important left out of Fox’s line up.

  5. AS SLANDERERS DECRY SLANDER

    The deeds they do so now they raise
    Against others in allegation;
    But what makes slander, tell me please,
    What constitutes? Deliberation
    Upon the matter may reveal
    But more false propaganda´s zeal.

    So too, those as disseminate
    Revisions over deeds historic,
    Now claim it is their foes create
    Much obfuscation, and euphoric
    Subvert criteria objective
    Of which tradition was selective.

    It is “Assault on Reason” truly,
    As everyone becomes unruly.

  6. Dear Allan, i have some question’s and a cmment that i would like for you to ask Shawn Hannity, and i want a straight forward answer no double standard no double talking reply to these question. in the primary season the republican party along with Shawn Hannity made a major issue about the fact that Senatr Obama did not wear his american flag lapell pin at any of his speaches or primary debates .But now that i have watched two presidental debates and viewed John Mccain’s public speeches i noticed he dosent wear his flag lapell pin? why haset Shawn Hannity and the Republican party, said any thing about this issue? and talk about Senator Mccain like they did about Senator Obama’s not being loyal to his country, and being a traitor to his country, why is it that there are double standards within the Republican Party. maby, that is why Shawn and the Republican Party have lost their credibility with the american people, maby that’s why Senator Mccain is trailing in the poles. AND, oh by the way, im a very conservitive republican ,who is wondering what happened to the republican party that used to, tell the truth about all the issues, and would not have double standard’s, like present day Republicans, also im going to vote, against the double talking, double standard, so called present day Republican Party that im ashamed to talk about, with anyone and of all that has happened in the last several months, SHAWN some day maby you and the so called present day Republican Party can wake up and realize the boat has left the dock and left you behind shawn thank you . oliver

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