Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Beck Ultimatum, now what?

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The following essay is being republished here with permission of the author, Leslie Savan. She initially published this in The Nation under the title "The Beck Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum." Savan is the author of Slam Dunks and No-Brainers: Pop Language in Your Life, the Media, and Like...Whatever.

Last spring, when Fox News announced that Glenn Beck had been chosen for the rapture from their ranks—his last day will be Thursday—the network started playing a promo for Beck’s personal end-time that could have been a trailer for Enemy of the State. Called “The Final Chapter,” it flashes words of evil like “Obamacare,” “net neutrality” and even “Food regulations” with black-and-white photos of President Obama, Van Jones, George Soros et al., casting Beck and, by extension, his audience as characters in a national security state thriller:

The heart-pounding staple of fear-inducing Republican ads, sounds a lot like the music backing Tim Pawlenty’s much-mocked action-thriller campaign video, which in turn echoes the theme to The Dark Knight, one of the right’s favorite flicks. Conservatives see that Batman movie as a 9/11 allegory, a municipal security thriller—the posters showing Obama in Joker make-up were spin-offs, and no less than the New York Post once swooned that the Dark Knight was “Dick Cheney with hair.”
And it would be just like Beck to overdramatize his departure as a coup d’├ętat, or a final plot twist in an Allen Drury script. Of course, Beck has been shedding advertisers and viewers for more than a year as his paranoid vigilante shtick wore thin, but that isn’t the reason he’s been axed: Rupert Murdoch subsidizes many projects that don’t turn a profit, the New York Post for one. No, Beck is leaving because he’s served his purpose for Fox and its subsidiary, the Republican Party. And the kind of movie that Beck’s audience has been cast in isn’t a superhero thriller or even a standard save-the-world spy thriller but a very specific genre all its own: the amnesiac national security melodrama, like Matt Damon in the Bourne movies or Gregory Peck in Mirage.
Those movies always start with the hero waking up just after a blinding psychological trauma that has left him unable to remember who he is or what he’s done. As he begins his search to find his identity, he comes to believe that danger is all around him. Only by relying on his most violent instincts can he hope to survive; slowly, with the help of a flawed, unprepared and often compromised helper (usually a woman, but Glenn Beck is very good in this role), the hero comes to terms with who he really is and finds the courage to live as that reintegrated personality.
This plotline pretty much describes the hysterical reaction of the Tea Party to the calamity of George W. Bush’s presidency and Beck’s role in reviving their will to live. After the economic collapse and the elections of 2008, the panic on the right was completely understandable. Bush made it clear that everything conservatives had fervently believed was false: tax cuts and deregulation don’t create jobs, American armies can’t remake the Middle East, capitalism is really socialism for the very rich, and the party of fiscal conservatism is in fact more profligate than generations of Democrats.
Taken together, this succession of ideological impossibilities hit the Republican base like the two bullets in Jason Bourne’s back. (Unfortunately, the rank and file do not have a laser signal for a numbered Swiss bank account buried in their hips—only their leadership gets that.) They underwent a severe psychological break, and when they came to they were no longer Republicans at all: They were Tea Partyers.
These conservative voters might well have awakened as progressives, given what had happened to them and at whose hands. Hollywood’s national security thrillers always have an anti–right-wing spin (even when the books they’re based on don’t, like the Tom Clancy adaptations), because the idea of leftwing authoritarians taking over the country is, frankly, not believable.
But through the alchemy of wild hysteria and Vick’s Vapo-Rub-induced tears, Beck convinced his audience that their values had never been wrong, they had simply been betrayed by conservatives-in-name-only—that the GOP’s ideology wasn’t flawed, only its leadership was.
Like, mirabile dictu, George W. Bush himself. To them, Bush’s worst lie wasn’t about weapons of mass destruction but about just how conservative he really was. During the Egyptian uprising, Beck told his audience that both Bush administrations “told our bombers not to bomb…ancient Babylon. Why? Because the Bible tells us that that is the seat, right here”—he points to a small blob on his chalkboard—“of power, of a global, evil empire. Well, that's also where the twelfth imam from Iran is supposedly going to show up…” (See?)
Beck’s querulous, portentous, giddily apocalyptic delivery was perfect for this message of shocked—shocked!—realization. Once through the looking glass of Bush’s perfidy, you could sell these people almost anything: the Democrats had somehow managed to steal away the bonny effects of trickle down, the stimulus had actually made things worse, taxes just never got low enough or regulations lax enough to really let the free market deliver us its riches, and so on and on. There were enough conspiracy theories in the John Birch archives to keep it all spinning like a top, at least for a year or so. By that time, Obama had been in office long enough to own America’s problems—and Beck’s form of extreme psychotherapy, once so useful in nursing the right through a kind of post-traumatic stress syndrome, was superfluous.
So now it’s time for Beck, like the dead girlfriend in The Bourne Supremacy, to float off into the dark river of talk radio and the Internet, his role accomplished, the hero—a k a “the base”—restored. With the confused, nerve-wracking, touch-and-go exposition now over, Fox is moving on to the part of the script where the beleaguered hero begins to take his vengeance. And for that, there’s a new supporting cast made up of 2010 freshman governors—Walker, Scott, Christie, Kasich, LePage—each a union-slaying, New Deal–demolishing enforcer.
master of shark jumping
Which brings us to the Beck Ultimatum. Glenn has jumped so many sharks in the past year that he couldn’t possibly have satisfied even his shrunken audience’s sense of impending doom day after day for much longer. Toting a sign around that reads The End Is Near will, sooner or later, force you to deliver an event of commensurate desperation—even if it’s only your own departure. Fortunately, the oligarchic economy itself, crippled by the radical policies of those Republican governors and their cohorts in Congress, is making good on Beck’s prophecies. The world is ending, in a way, for a lot of people, and so is that idyllic postwar dream.
I have a strange relationship with you,” Beck confided to his TV audience in one of his “Final Chapter” shows. “I feel you when I look into the camera.… I feel you say, ‘We get it. We get it.  Now what?’ ”
For a summary about Glenn Beck, see "Becoming Paul Revere"

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is Glenn Beck a dog or is he a closet bisexual?

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Last week on his Fox show, Glenn Beck hosted presidential candidate, Senator Rick Santorum. When Santorum told Beck that he liked and had signed the Republican Cut, Cap Balance Pledge, Beck was so excited that he told Santorum that he "could kiss you in the mouth."  See the clip below.

Via Mediaite:

It is a strange thing to say, even "only joking." Keith Olbermann's take on this made Beck the worst person last Thursday. Via Current TV:

For Olbermann this was some kind of canine desire on Beck's part, but was it really? Could this have been a slip of the tongue (no pun intended) of a deeper, psychological element in Glenn Beck's subconscious, just as Sigmund Freud explained occasionally happens? Is it possible that Beck really wanted to kiss Santorum in the mouth, French style, somewhere down in his psyche?

It has been documented here in the past that Beck seems to have something to be nervous about, but so far nothing has been divulged. Also, Beck is rare as a Christian reactionary and Mormon because he is tolerant and supportive of gay people and the homosexual lifestyle. He supports civil unions of same-sex couples. Why? Why is someone otherwise so extremely reactionary and full of old time Christian religion not against homosexuality?

A collaborator and blogger has been digging around Glenn Beck's past and interviewed people who knew Beck in high school and shortly thereafter. One source, one interviewee, told -- on tape -- this fellow critic of Glenn Beck that Beck once lived in a homosexual lifestyle himself and Beck has had at least one other male lover. The man that Beck "was" allegedly involved with had not only met up with Beck during some of his road trips, but this unnamed (but known) individual has been hired by and now works for Mr. Beck. It seems that Beck wants this man around him, even to this day!

allegedly keeps male lover nearby

The reason that this leads to a question of Beck's sexuality and not a statement about it is obvious to any professional journalist. Double check your source with another source willing to go on the record. Since only one person is willing to go on the record to state that allegedly Beck led a gay lifestyle, this cannot be announced as a statement of fact. We can only ask the question: is Glenn Beck a closet bisexual?

It is obvious that Beck has no canine fantasies, but could this moment of enthusiasm for Santorum's support for the pledge have been a Freudian slip? Instead of Beck being the worst person of the world last Thursday, maybe Olbermann should have made Beck the most honest person in the world for the first time in his career at Fox.
For a summary about Glenn Beck, see "Becoming Paul Revere"

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Glenn Beck lied again when he claimed to have never attacked atheists

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Glenn Beck makes a lot of false claims, and it is usually impossible to tell whether he is being ignorant, spouting misinformation because he does not have a clue, or if he knows the truth and is intentionally lying. No doubt, that is the reason that media critics prove that he makes "false claims" rather than he tells lies. To prove that Beck intends to misinform rather than just makes unintentional mistakes, there has to be evidence that he knows what he is saying to be false. Two examples come to mind although there may be dozens or hundreds available to the diligent researcher with the time available to dig into his false claims.

This week, Beck made a claim that he knew to be false. Listen to this brief audio clip via the liberal media watchdogs, Media Matters for America:

Beck claims that he has never attacked atheists. He certainly knows what he has said over the years, so if this can be proven false, then it certainly represents a lie and not an ignorant false claim. Apparently Mr. Beck does not realize how easy it is to check a simple fact as to whether he as attacked atheists in the past or not. All one has to do is to Google "Glenn Beck attacks atheists" to find many examples of his attacks on atheists. (This idea was suggested by "Lizinbklyn" on the Media Matters site.) How many results pop up? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands?  Keep going. Hundreds of thousands? Over a million?  Keep going. To be fair, not all of the 2,240,000 results are pointing to Beck attacking atheists, but all it takes is one example to show that Beck is lying with this false claim. Google that phrase and see for yourself some of the examples -- a few of them are in video -- of Beck attacking atheists. As many times as Beck has purposely (mis)quoted Jefferson's letter to his nephew, Peter Carr, he does not actually question the existence of God; but that is another point.

intentionally lies

The other example of an intentional lie by Beck has been pointed on here before, but it is significant in its symbolism and its purpose. On February 18th of this year, Beck made a provably false claim. Via his website, he said:
I just got this [tee-shirt] in.  I didn’t even know we were making these.  This is the slogan that I wrote for The Blaze.  We’ve put it up everywhere here and we’ve written it out for The Blaze.  And it is the truth has no agenda.  And they just gave me this new T shirt and it actually has the original Blaze logo on it, ‘Stand in the Blaze’ on the back. 
As reported by the conservative site, The Daily Caller in April, Beck did not write that slogan. Their reporter, Matthew Boyle, explained:
But in fact, this was not the truth. Beck did not write any such slogan for The Blaze. According to website domain name registration records, a man named Michael Opelka bought the domain “” in July 2009. Beck has since hired Opelka to work for The Blaze. Shortly thereafter, Beck began selling “The Truth Has No Agenda” merchandise.
Beck knew when he falsely claimed that he did write that slogan that he did not write it, so why would he make such a provably false claim over a demanding standard about truth? Typically, Beck's false claims support an agenda, but these two lies do not. Is Beck in the habit of lying? Is Beck's public persona a lie? Does he lie because of issues with his ego? It is impossible to tell, but it is not impossible to understand: Glenn Beck is a liar. Aside from these two examples, many other lies have been documented by The Glenn Beck Report.


The fact is, no matter what his reasons are, Glenn Beck purposely deceives his listeners and makes ignorant, false claims. His adoring and gullible flock are in complete denial regarding Beck's dishonesty, but that only refers to Glenn Beck's genius as a reactionary propagandist. When Glenn Beck claims that he tells the truth, over and over again, he is lying. He is also exploiting an element of propaganda, repeating the lie over and over until people believe it. Unfortunately, some of his lies matter. Too many people believe Beck's false claims about climate change, and that contributes to the slow motion train wreck that is global warming. 

Truth may well actually have an agenda, since truth is always told from a perspective. Beck definitely has an agenda, the reactionary Koch brothers,' corporate agenda. That is just one reason Beck needs to be exposed as the liar he clearly is. The main reason is that people need to know the truth, honest stories about reality, not lies and propaganda that support a reactionary agenda.
For a summary about Glenn Beck, see "Becoming Paul Revere"

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Is Glenn Beck a cult of personality?

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Look in my eyes, what do you see?
the Cult of Personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I've been everything you wanna be ohhh…
I'm the Cult of Personality
I sell the things you need to be
I'm the smiling face of your T.V. ohh…
I'm the Cult of Personality
I exploit you; still you love me
I tell you one and one makes three ohh…
I'm the Cult of Personality
~~Living Color
"Cult of Personality"

Anyone, who has had any interactions with Beck's loyal followers, may immediately answer the question of the post title in the affirmative. Yes, Glenn Beck may well be a cult of personality; but has Beck used his Fox stage to become thus? If so, how would we know? If not, then what better describes the cult-like following of devoted and adoring supporters?

cult of personality?

According to wikipedia, a cult of personality...
...arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise.[1] Cults of personality are usually associated with dictatorships. The sociologist Max Weber developed a tripartite classification of authority; the cult of personality holds parallels with what Weber defined as 'charismatic authority'.
Although Beck holds no office and has no power, he does wield significant influence over millions of Americans. The mechanisms that Beck uses to sway people to his way of thinking include, most significantly, manipulation of his viewers. It has been argued here that Glenn Beck is an ignorant genius of reactionary, yellow propaganda, and it is that "genius," along with the highly effective manipulation that he employs, that generates not just a following, but people wholly CONvinced that Glenn Beck is honest, principled and an important figure on a mission to restore American back to what the Founding Fathers intended even if the facts prove that Beck is a liar, a hypocrite, a fraud and a highly effective propagandist telling people what they want to hear thereby reinforcing their feelings, beliefs and faith.

Is Beck really a cult of personality? That is not a matter of understanding Glenn Beck so much as it is a matter of understanding his cult-like followers. There are many examples of their comments that can be offered to support the argument that Beck has a flock of followers who are fanatic, intensely loyal and full of gushing praise; but there are two sites that demonstrate the intense and protective loyalty on one hand and the sheer ignorance and gullibility of his fans on the other. Together these seem to show that if Glenn Beck is not yet a full-blown cult of personality, then he is well on his way toward becoming something that transcends a radio and television blowhard of any ideological orientation.

First consider a story board on Glenn Beck dot com. Entitled "Glenn's soulmate?", it covers a conversation Beck had with Congressman Paul Ryan, author of legislation passed by the House that would end Medicare as we know it while cutting taxes for the rich. When it was located using Google about a week ago, the two month old post has zero comments on it. Apparently there was never a link to that story offered to Beck's followers. A comment was offered to criticize Mr. Beck, a follower of a version of the Christian faith (Mormonism), for his and Ryan's hypocrisy for embracing the atheistic principles of author and philosopher, Ayn Rand. Because Beck uses the Disques platform for people to post comments on his site, his followers track anything written by The Glenn Beck Review and attack this blogger with a fierce animosity that well transcends rational discussion as shown below. Now there are well over 1,000 comments there in an ongoing exchange of attack, usually personal, and counter attack to point out that his minions are not addressing the charge that Beck is a hypocrite and a liar.  The lies from Beck offered and steadfastly ignored there are derived from a list documented by The Glenn Beck Report. This is a small sampling of attacks that roughly 1/2 dozen of his fanatical supporters made there in response to comments from The Review:

The latter two comments are by two troopers (character assassins) who have been exposed previously on this Review.  The anonymous (cowardly) and racist (once referred to Obama as "your boy") "Benny_Hill" does not even pretend to be much more than a character assassin. His idea of "winning" with relentless attacks on the blogger involve referring to a man as "Vicky." The "ladies who argue like reasonable adults" also refer to a man as "Vicky." That's reasonable? Momwith5kids' claim of "destructive narcissism" is particularly stupid since no diagnosis like that is possible without a face-to-face interview. It is all about assassinating the character and deceitfully rendering legitimate and honest criticism of their hero as disreputable.

Todd, to his credit, is the ONLY ONE there who even attempted to address the charge that Beck is a hypocrite for embracing Rand's atheistic philosophy. Clearly, Todd doesn't grasp the point of the accusation against Beck.  The attack dogs there believe that this blogger is "ignorant," but they don't have the maturity to defend their hero like an adult!  If you click to that page and spend time reading more of the hundreds of comments attacking this Reviewer, (listed as "Guest" there), you'll note that Todd is trying to make the case that a statement made in error (unintentional false claim), insults and opinions even are the same as a lie (intentional false claim). He repeats this claim even though the matter of intention, admission of error and correction makes all the difference to credibility. He doesn't care about actual facts; undermining Beck's critic is his primary intention. Todd is also wrong about Rand's anti-Christian opinions. Unfortunately, someone at Beck's website banned further comment by The Glenn Beck Review to allow corrections of Todd's ongoing smear campaign. Bear that in mind if you encounter his baseless claims and distorted accusations. His minions are brutal and fundamentally -- like Beck -- dishonest with their attacks on this critic, not just there but wherever this blogger comments using the Disques system.

Does an ad hoc team of deceitful character assassins support a conclusion that Glenn Beck is a cult of personality? If you are still not convinced that Beck is a cult of personality, then check out another blog, Wisdom from the Blaze. It documents many of the hateful and ignorant comments coming from subscribers to Beck's "news" site, The Blaze. 

wisdom from The Blaze

This is just three of thousands that have been documented on that blog. "Obama-Mecca-Me-Sick" conveys the intense delusion of Beck's gullible supporters and the one thing that most if not all seem to have in common with Mr. Beck, a visceral hatred for President Obama.

It is one thing to be a social conservative but another to adore a proven liar. It is one thing to be a reactionary (libertarian) and something else to embrace a hypocrite like Beck who undermines his principles whenever he thinks it sounds good to do so. So is Mr. Beck a cult of personality? Perhaps the answer is in the mind of the observer. Perhaps there is not enough information available to make a definitive claim one way or another. Maybe a better indication of the answer to this question comes not from thousands of exchanges with his devoted followers as seen on Glenn Beck dot com, but rather from the many comments on others pages of his site and on The Blaze from his adoring supporters addressing him directly. To be clear, there are critics addressing Beck on his site, but they are far outnumbered by the sycophants who adore him there.

There are hundreds of story boards on Beck's website that one could read to assess his follower's devotion and unquestioning praise. These are but a few recent ones to consider:
Beck certainly has "an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise" from his supporters. To them, he can do and does no wrong. Based upon the interactions of thousands of comment exchanges with his minions and the extent to which they genuinely but falsely believe that Beck is honest and principled, the tentative claim here is in the affirmative. Glenn Beck is a cult of personality. Understanding Glenn Beck as such goes a long way to helping people understand the grip he has on people's minds, people like "momwith5kids" (above) who cannot even conceive that Glenn Beck is a liar, a hypocrite and a yellow propagandist. The possibility, the suggestion, that Beck is a liar, no matter how well proven, is "insane" to her. Cult of personality or not, Beck clearly has a disconcerting grip over the minds of millions of reactionary and ignorant Americans. If Beck is not a cult of personality, then explain this:

Update, 7/21/2011: Several sites are listed above that show the lunacy and irrational devotion Beck's devoted followers have for him, but none show the extreme hatred that his minions and attack dogs have for his critic like a story on Mediaite where they once again caught up with this blogger writing comments there as "Veritas Praetoriani." Once again, the smears and deceitful attacks on the character of Veritas sadly required another deletion of the comment name. Beckerhead Todd Scheller seems to have devoted himself to making sure that this blogger's character is assassinated whenever and where ever he can find links to this site. See: " 'Security Concerns' force Glenn Beck to move Israel rally." Note how they are so concerned about keeping people from finding out the truth about Beck that they falsely claim this Review is "buggy" and infected by a virus. There is, as Bia confided, no winning and no getting through to these Beckerheads.

For a summary about Glenn Beck, see "Becoming Paul Revere"

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fox is not fair, not balanced...

and not news!

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By now the interview on Fox with Jon Stewart by Chris Wallace has become viral and been covered from many different angles. This post is a review of the interview offering video clips of the original interview in its entirety, the two segments that differed between the unedited version and the Fox version, Jon Stewart's follow up on The Daily Show regarding the debunking of his claim that Fox viewers are the "most consistently misinformed" and commentary about Fox in general and Chris Wallace specifically regarding his .

First, via Crooks and Liars, the unedited segment of the interview that became distorted in the edited version that Fox broadcast:

The edited version of this clip that Fox showed also comes from the same Crooks and Liars story. Notice the sudden jumps in expressions on Stewart's face.

Now, for those who have not seen the entire, unedited 24 minute interview, this is it via Mediaite.

Mediaite has since reported that PolitiFact found Stewart's claim that all polls find Fox viewers the most consistently misinformed "false." On The Daily Show Tuesday night, Stewart followed up on that finding:

Some outlets have taken issue with  PolitiFact's findings. People, who follow Glenn Beck, certainly have a screwy understanding of reality. Just one example, nearly all of them falsely believe that George Soros was a Nazi collaborator.
lies, misinforms, smears, distorts, quotes out of context, etc.

Almost as if to support Stewart's claim, Fox Nation posted statistics from their viewers that demonstrated Fox viewers' ignorance on several matters:
  • 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
  • 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
  • 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
  • 60 percent believe that climate change is not occurring
The debunking of these Fox replicated myths is available on a post with Alternet entitled "Jon Stewart was right about Fox "News" being the most misinformed citizens." Following concluding remarks and trailing tag lines are the results of research done by the liberal, media watchdogs, Media Matters for America (1) supporting Stewart's claim that Fox viewers are misinformed. If Fox Nation's data doesn't already convince you already, these findings will reinforce Stewart's point. However, for many on the right who are convinced that Fox and Beck tell the "truth," findings to the contrary are actually counter-productive. The Alternet piece ends with these discouraging words:
Political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler did a study in which two groups of volunteers were offered George Bush's claims that Iraq was bristling with WMD. One was also given information debunking those claims. The researchers found that “Thirty-four percent of conservatives told only about the Bush administration's claims thought Iraq had hidden or destroyed its weapons before the U.S. invasion, but 64 percent of conservatives who heard both claim and refutation thought that Iraq really did have the weapons. The refutation, in other words, made the misinformation worse.”
That's what the “balance” of Fox News is all about – advancing the misinformation that can never be fully corrected by contrary information in the eyes of its viewers.
However, if he was basically correct about Fox's viewers, Stewart's respect for Chris Wallace seems misplaced. When Beck was first hired by Fox, Wallace and Fox host Shepard Smith had an exchange of words about Glenn Beck. As reported by Think Progress in March of 2009, "Shep Smith repeatedly mocked Beck and the program, admitting that although he watches Beck’s show, he does not listen to it. Smith also pointed to a giant satellite truck parked outside and wondered if it was for Beck’s “ego.” Chris Wallace told Smith he must be jealous:"

SMITH: Do you even understand this Glenn Beck Friday? Because I really don’t.
WALLACE: Well, I do, and what pains me — and you know, Shep, how highly I respect you — is you seem upset by Glenn Beck Friday.
SMITH: Upset?!
WALLACE: I mean, Glenn is a meteor here at Fox News–
SMITH: He is the greatest star of all time!
WALLACE: And you should be happy for his success–
SMITH: I am here to worship him.
WALLACE: –and you seem to be begrudging — you’re begrudging him his success.
“We are here to celebrate, worship, and adore,” Smith told Wallace.
This exchange begs the question why is a decent reporter like Smith working for a channel like Fox? One can only wonder at this point what Wallace thinks of the megalomaniac, Beck, now.

In conclusion, Fox is not fair. If Fox were fair, they would not have taken out the part where Wallace admits that Fox offers the "other side" to MSNBC and Stewart's reference to Bill Sammon giving marching orders. Wallace's statement demonstrates that Fox is not balanced. Fox is the other side, the conservative/reactionary point of view. Most observers readily grasp this about Fox, but they still engage in the false advertising by claiming to be "fair and balanced."

If that were all Fox was about, Glenn Beck would not have lasted there for 30 months. Beck lies too often to be an acceptable commentator there if Fox were only offering a conservative perspective on news stories and a rightward spin of the truth. Many of the lies that Stewart listed in his follow-up segment on The Daily Show were lies spewed by Beck, and there are many, many more. Fox hosts and their guests routinely distort the facts, make false claims, engage in hyperbole, make baseless accusations, hype bogus theories, propagate evidence-free attacks, etc. on a fairly routine basis. Their journalists, good (S. Smith) and bad (Wallace), are fig leaves masking what Fox president, Roger Ailes, has actually put together, i.e., a channel of right-wing propaganda. Fox is not news, and they do not provide accurate information. Fox is a right-wing propaganda outlet that tells conservatives and reactionaries what they want to hear which is not the truth. That is not the only condition that explains how a liar, hate-monger, fear-monger, yellow propagandist, race-baiter and bizarre conspiracy theorist like Glenn Beck lasted there for 30 months; but it serves as the most likely explanation for why he survived this long there.
For a summary about Glenn Beck, see "Becoming Paul Revere"

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Fox News has attacked Daily Show host Jon Stewart for claiming that Fox News viewers are "the most consistently misinformed viewers" of cable news. However, Stewart was correct -- Fox News consistently misinforms its viewers and its viewers, are found among the most likely to hold misinformed beliefs about current events.

Jon Stewart Criticizes Fox News For Having "Consistently Misinformed" Viewers

Stewart:  "Who Is The Most Consistently Misinformed Media Viewers? ... Fox Viewers, Consistently, Every Poll."
In a June 19 interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, Daily Show host Jon Stewart asked: "Who is the most consistently misinformed media viewers? The most consistently misinformed? Fox. Fox viewers, consistently, every poll." [Fox News, Fox News Sunday, 6/19/11via Media Matters]

PolitiFact Dubiously Rates Stewart's Remarks "False"

PolitiFact Rates Stewart's Fox News Sunday Remarks "False." In a June 20 post, Jon Stewart's comments regarding Fox News viewers being "consistently misinformed" were given a rating of "false." From  
So we have three Pew studies that superficially rank Fox viewers low on the well-informed list, but in several of the surveys, Fox isn't the lowest, and other general-interest media outlets -- such as network news shows, network morning shows and even the other cable news networks -- often score similarly low. Meanwhile, particular Fox shows -- such as The O'Reilly Factor and Sean Hannity's show -- actually score consistently well, occasionally even outpacing Stewart's own audience.

Meanwhile, the other set of knowledge surveys, from, offer mixed support for Stewart. The 2003 survey strikes us as pretty solid, but the 2010 survey has been critiqued for its methodology.

The way Stewart phrased the comment, it's not enough to show a sliver of evidence that Fox News' audience is ill-informed. The evidence needs to support the view that the data shows they are "consistently" misinformed -- a term he used not once but three times. It's simply not true that "every poll" shows that result. So we rate his claim False. [, 6/20/11

Fox News Cites's Analysis Of Stewart To Attack "Stewart's Spin"

O'Reilly Claims "Stewart's Spin" Was False, Encourages Viewers To Visit PolitiFact.During the June 21 edition of his Fox News program, host Bill O'Reilly addressed an email his show received regarding the polls Jon Stewart mentioned in his Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace. From The O'Reilly Factor:  
BILL O'REILLY: Morley Hanford, Edmonton, Canada: Jon Stewart said that polls show Fox News viewers are ill informed. Do those polls exist? Well, according to [sic], Stewart's assertion is false, Morley. If you want the stats, they are available on that website. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 6/21/11]
Fox & Friends Jumps To Defend Misinformed Fox Viewers. From the June 22 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Here's the problem. Politifact, which is the Pulitzer Prize-winning website - they've got the Truth-O-Meter - they said that what he said is absolutely false. And, Exhibit A, ladies and gentleman and the folks over at Comedy Central, take a look at this. This survey was conducted by Pew Media. It was their consumption survey, and it asked cable news network viewers a series of four questions to test how much they knew about what was going on in the world.
MARTHA MacCALLUM (guest host): And look at the numbers --  20 percent of those, Fox viewers got them right, MSNBC down at 17 percent, CNN was in third place with 14 percent getting those questions right. You know I -
DOOCY: So the Fox News viewer is the most informed of the cable news according to Pew, Johnny.
MacCALLUM: He didn't reference any polls. I'd love to know what polls he's talking about.
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): He said all the polls.
MacCALLUM: All the polls.
KILMEADE: So he's already proven [in]correct.
DOOCY: I think he's talking about all the polls he's conducted at Comedy Central, at MSNBC, at the Daily Kos, at the Huffington Post.  [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/22/11]  

However, PolitiFact's Analysis Has Been Widely Criticized

Jane Hamsher: "Use[d] Three Polls That Don't Apply To What" Stewart "Said." In a June 21 Firedoglake post, Jane Hamsher wrote:  
Politifact often does a good service checking the veracity (or lack thereof) of controversial claims made by public figures. But they seem to have encountered some difficulty fact-checking Jon Stewart's claim that Fox Viewers are "the most consistently misinformed media viewers."
Politifact maintains that Stewart is wrong about Fox viewers,  based on the findings of five different polls.  Three were conducted by the Pew Foundation:   2007 Political Knowledge Survey, 2008 Media Survey,  and the 2010 Media Consumption Survey.  Two were conducted by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA): 2003 Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War, and 2010 Misinformation and the 2010 Election.
The three Pew polls measure how informed viewers are.  They don't even belong in the discussion, because they don't go to Stewart's point.   "Do you know who the Secretary of State is" or "what is the name of the Vice President" are questions that you can answer if you're paying attention.  There is no shortage of people who go glassy-eyed and stupid while staring at cable news, and I'm proud to be one of them.  I can feel the lull of Kathleen Parker's voice shaving points off my IQ.  I might be able to tell you who the Secretary of Education is under ordinary circumstances, but freely admit that listening to Bill Bennett drone on about anything is enough to flip the switch on enough synapses that answering any question becomes a challenge.  It's a guilty pleasure for people who don't smoke pot.
On the other hand, the two PIPA studies measure how misinformed viewers are. That's a very different yardstick.  Listening to Dana Bash may freeze a few neurons in the "off" position, and I may not get the news value that I should out of the segment, but unless she says something that is manifestly untrue I can't claim to have been misinformed.
By Politifact's own measure, Jon Stewart was right when he claimed that "every study" has found Fox viewers to be consistently the most misinformed - because every study they cite which surveys "misinformation" draws that conclusion.  Politifact is wrong to interject meaning that was outside of what Stewart claimed, and then use three polls that don't apply to what he said to measure the veracity of that claim. [Firedoglake, 6/21/11 emphasis in original]  
World Public Opinion Director: "[F]or Fox Viewers, On Nine Points Of Information, Increased Exposure Correlated With Increased Misinformation." On June 21, published a follow-up article noting criticism of its analysis of Stewart's claim and included a response from Steven Kull, the director of  
Generally speaking, readers viewed the three Pew studies -- which we saw as some of the strongest evidence undercutting Stewart's position -- as irrelevant because they were testing factual knowledge, and if someone got one of those questions wrong, it wasn't because they had been "misinformed" but rather because they were simply "uninformed."
By contrast, many readers argued that the only legitimate way to test Stewart's thesis was to refer to the studies, since they tested the extent of beliefs that were the result of misinformation, whether it's Barack Obama being born in Kenya or the stimulus not creating or preserving a significant number of jobs.
Steven Kull, the director of, wrote us after the story appeared to say that testing for lack of knowledge is not enough. "We analyzed the effect of increased exposure to news outlets. We found that with all other outlets, increased exposure generally resulted in less misinformation. However, for Fox viewers, on nine points of information, increased exposure correlated with increased misinformation. This was true of only one point of information for public broadcasting and MSNBC viewers, and two points of information for network news. This effect was found in the 2003 study as well. Fox viewers were the only group for whom increased exposure resulted in greater misinformation."
Kull added that, "simply on face value, such issues as knowledge of who was vice president are unlikely to be related to exposure to news outlets. Information on issues that were very foreground in media reporting and analysis, which ours were, are more likely to be related to exposure" to media outlets. [PolitiFact,6/21/11]  
Adam Serwer: "The Problem With Politfact's Work On This Is That They're Really Comparing Apples And Oranges." In a June 22 American Prospect post, Adam Serwer wrote:  
The problem with Politfact's work on this is that they're really comparing apples and oranges. The Pew studies measured viewers' knowledge of certain basic matters that no one is actually suggesting Fox News misinforms its viewers on. No one is arguing that Fox News misleads its audience about which party controls Congress, what volcano erupted last week, or whether John Bolton's mustache is secretary of state. Jane Hamsher had a good response to this, pointing out that being "misinformed" and "ill-informed" are not the same thing. An avid watcher of Fox News would likely be able to identify the speaker of the House or the attorney general, but they're also far more likely to think the president was born in Kenya. Put another way, someone who erroneously believes that the Civil War was fought over "states' rights" and not slavery would still likely know which side of the war Robert E. Lee fought on.
Rather, the issues on which Fox misinforms its viewers are on matters of fact that conservatives would like not to be true. For instance, one recent study that Politfact shied away from because conservatives "criticized its methodology" is the only one that actually measures public knowledge on the issues in question. That survey found that Fox News viewers were far more likely to believe, falsely, that most scientists don't believe climate change is happening, that there were no tax cuts in the stimulus, that income taxes have gone up, and that Obama wasn't born in the United States. It's fair to question whether or not respondents should be asked questions about what "economists" thought of the stimulus, but that problem isn't present with many of the other survey questions, which measure easily verifiable facts not subject to interpretation.
In other words, Politfact's fact check evaluates a claim Stewart wasn't actually trying to make. [The American Prospect, 6/22/11]
DeSmogBlog's Chris Mooney: PolitiFact's Analysis "Deeply Misguided" As It "Relied Upon Irrelevant And Off-Point Studies." In a June 22 DeSmogBlog post, Chris Mooney wrote:  
[I]n an environment in which conservatives are more inaccurate and more misinformed about science and basic policy facts, the "fact checkers" nevertheless feel unduly compelled to correct "liberal" errors too--which is fine, as long as they are really errors.
But sometimes they aren't. A case in point is Politifact's recent and deeply misguided attempt to correct Jon Stewart on the topic of...misinformation and Fox News. This is a subject on which we've developed some expertise recent post on studies showing that Fox News viewers are more misinformed, on an array of issues, is the most comprehensive such collection that I'm aware of, at least when it comes to public opinion surveys detecting statistical correlations between being misinformed about contested facts and Fox News viewership.
What Stewart obviously meant--and what I mean--is that when it comes to politicized, contested issues where the facts have been made murky due to political biases, it is Fox viewers who are the most likely to believe incorrect things--to fall prey to misinformation. A quintessential example of such an issue is global warming, or whether Saddam Hussein's Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction or was collaborating with Al Qaeda. There are many, many others.
To rebut Stewart's claim, Politifact relied upon irrelevant and off-point studies. Thus, the site cited a number of Pew surveys that examine basic political literacy and relate it to what kind of media citizens consume. E.g., questions like whether people know "who the vice president is, who the president of Russia is, whether the Chief Justice is conservative, which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives and whether the U.S. has a trade deficit." [DeSmogBlog, 6/22/11 emphasis in original]  

And Polls Have Proven Stewart Correct: Fox News Viewers Are Consistently Misinformed

Stanford University Poll: "Frequent Viewers Of Fox News Are Less Likely To Accept Scientists' Views Of Global Warming." A December 2010 report conducted by Stanford University and supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation "explores whether the flow of doubt-arousing messaging might have persuaded Americans who watch Fox News to reject the views espoused by many mainstream natural scientists on the issue." The outcome of the study was that "exposure to skeptical views about global warming can be effective at changing the opinions of viewers." The report was titled, "Frequent Viewers of Fox News Are Less Likely to Accept Scientists' Views of Global Warming." [Stanford University Research Study,December 2010]

Fox Viewers Are More Likely To Be Misinformed On Health Care Reform. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in February regarding the public's understanding of the health care reform law found: "There were also differences by where people get their information with higher shares of those who report CNN (35 percent) or MSNBC (39 percent) as their primary news source getting 7 or more right, compared to those that report mainly watching FOX News (25 percent). Again, these differences may be related to whether or not people more generally favor or oppose the law." [Kaiser Family Foundation, "Assessing Americans' Familiarity With The Health Care Law,"  February 2011]

Ohio State University: "Fox News Contributes To Spread Of Rumors About Proposed NYC Mosque." An October 14, 2010, study conducted by Ohio State University titled, "Fox News Contributes to Spread of Rumors About Proposed NYC Mosque" concluded that "CNN and NPR promote more accurate beliefs," and that Fox viewers "believe more of the rumors" about the NYC mosque and "they believe them more strongly than those who do not."  Among the key findings in the study:
People who use Fox News, either online or on television, are more aware of false rumors about the Islamic community center and mosque than those who do not.
  • For example, respondents who reported a low reliance on Fox News stated hearing 1.4 rumors (out of 4) on average. In comparison, if the same respondent reported a high reliance on Fox News, they would report hearing 1.9 rumors on average, an increase of 35%.
  • In contrast, reliance on other cable news networks, including CNN and MSNBC, does not influence rumor exposure.
  • We can only speculate about why this is. For example, perhaps Fox News spent a disproportionate amount of time covering the issue. Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism August 1622 News Coverage Index noted cable news "coverage [of the mosque controversy] was intense" with conservative commentators strongly attacking the proposed mosque project and devoting significant airtime to the issue (see
  • We also cannot say whether this finding was due to exposure to Fox's hard news programming, its editorial programming, or its website. The survey did not distinguish between these different aspects of the news network.
People who use Fox News, either online or on television, are more aware of false rumors about the Islamic community center and mosque than those who do not.
  • For example, a typical respondent who reported a low reliance on Fox News believed .9 rumors on average. If that same respondent reported a high reliance on Fox News, the average number of rumors believed increased by 66% to 1.5.
  • This is not just a product of increased exposure. Even among people with comparable rumor exposure, those who got their news from Fox believed more rumors. [Ohio State University Communications Department Study on Fox News, 10/14/10 emphasis in the original]
Fox News Cited As A Major Source Of Misinformation During The 2010 Election. A December 10, 2010, study titled "Misinformation and the 2010 Election" that was conducted by World Public Opinion, a project of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland, showed that regular Fox News viewers "were significantly more likely" to hold misinformed views. From the study:
Those who watched Fox News almost daily were significantly more likely than those who never watched it to believe that:
  • most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely)
  • most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points)
  • the economy is getting worse (26 points)
  • most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points)
  • the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points)
  • their own income taxes have gone up (14 points)
  • the auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points)
  • when TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points)
  • and that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points)  
These effects increased incrementally with increasing  levels of exposure and all were statistically significant.  The effect was also not simply  a function of partisan bias, as people who voted Democratic and watched Fox News  were also more likely to have such misinformation than those who did not watch it--though by a lesser margin than those who voted Republican.
There were cases with some other news sources as well.
Daily consumers of MSNBC and public broadcasting (NPR and PBS) were higher (34 points and 25 points respectively) in believing that it was proven that the US Chamber of Commerce was spending money raised from foreign sources to support Republican candidates.
Daily watchers of network TV news broadcasts were 12 points higher in believing that TARP was signed into law by President Obama, and 11 points higher in believing that most Republicans oppose TARP.
All of these effects were statistically significant. [The University of Maryland, World Public Opinion Study on Misinformation During the 2010 Election,12/10/10]  
NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll: Fox News Viewers Overwhelmingly Misinformed About Health Care Reform Proposals. An August 19, 2009, post to Think Progress summarized the results of an NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll. From the post:  
Here's another way to look at the misinformation: In our poll, 72% of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants, 79% of them say it will lead to a government takeover, 69% think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and 75% believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly. But it would be incorrect to suggest that this is ONLY coming from conservative viewers who tune in to FOX. In fact, 41% of CNN/MSNBC viewers believe the misinformation about illegal immigrants, 39% believe the government takeover stuff, 40% believe the abortion misperception, and 30% believe the stuff about pulling the plug on grandma. What's more, a good chunk of folks who get their news from broadcast TV (NBC, ABC, CBS) believe these things, too. This is about credible messengers using the media to get some of this misinformation out there, not as much about the filter itself. These numbers should worry Democratic operatives, as well as the news media that have been covering this story.

As ThinkProgress has pointed out, Fox News regularly distorts the truth about health care reform. Last week, Media Matters found that over a two day period opponents of health care reform outnumbered supporters by a 6-to-1 margin on Fox. [NBC News/Wall Street Journal via Think Progress, 8/19/09, emphasis in the original] 

Indeed, Fox Repeatedly Misinforms Its Viewers


Fox Repeatedly Misinforms About Unions, Often Smearing Them As Solely Responsible For States' Budget Problems. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly attacks and misinforms about issues related to labor unions.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about unions, SEE HERE.

Fox Routinely Misinforms About Taxes, Often While Cheerleading Tax Cuts For The Wealthy. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about, and makes false claims while reporting on, issues related to taxes.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about taxes, SEE HERE.

Fox Regularly Misinforms About Jobs, Often While Attacking President Obama's Stimulus Plan. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about and makes false claims about jobs and unemployment, often while attacking the stimulus plan and other Obama economic policies.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about jobs, SEE HERE.

Fox Regularly Misinforms About Budget Issues, Often While Promoting And Advocating GOP Fiscal Policies. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about budget issues and often hypes and advocates for Republican policies.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about budget issues, SEE HERE.

Fox Regularly Misinforms About Housing, Often While Attacking Affordable Housing Policies Or Blaming Them For The Housing Crisis. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms its viewers about housing issues, in many cases by demonizing affordable housing policies.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about housing issues, SEE HERE.

Fox Routinely Misinforms About Social Security, Often Attacking It As A "Ponzi Scheme" Or Misleading About Its Solvency. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News routinely misinforms about Social Security, attacking it as a "Ponzi scheme," or misleading about its solvency.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about Social Security, SEE HERE.


Fox Regularly Misinforms About Health Care Reform, Often While Fearmongering About "Death Panels," Rationing, And The Law's Cost. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about the health care reform law.
For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about health care reform, SEE HERE.

Fox Routinely Misinforms About Medicare, Often While Parroting GOP Talking Points, Advocating For GOP Proposals. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News routinely misinforms about Medicare.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about Medicare, SEE HERE.

Fox Repeatedly Misinforms About Reproductive Choice Issues, Often While Attacking Planned Parenthood. As Media Matters has noted, Fox has a long history of misinforming about reproductive choice issues, often by attacking Planned Parenthood or making false claims about the organization.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about reproductive choice, SEE HERE.


Fox Regularly Misinforms About Immigration Reform, Often While Promoting Controversial Anti-Immigration Laws. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about immigration reform, often while promoting the controversial anti-immigration law in Arizona and attacking or making false claims about the DREAM Act.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about immigration reform, SEE HERE.

Fox Routinely Misinforms About Border Security, Often By Distorting Obama's Record On Border Security. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News routinely misinforms about border security, often by distorting or making false claims about Obama's record on border security.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about border security, SEE HERE.


Fox Regularly Misinforms About Terrorism Issues, Often While Advocating For The Use Of EITs And Attacking Obama's Efforts To Combat Terrorism. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about terrorism-related issues, often while advocating for the use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) and attacking Obama's policies to combat terrorism.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about terrorism, SEE HERE.

Fox Routinely Misinformed About START Treaty, Often While Claiming That The Treaty Would Harm National Security. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News routinely misinformed and made false claims about the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about START, SEE HERE.


Fox Regularly Misinforms About Race And Ethnicity. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about, and makes false claims while reporting on, issues related to race and ethnicity and has cheered Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) anti-Muslim hearings.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about race and ethnicity, SEE HERE.

Fox Regularly Misinforms About Gender While Promoting Sexism. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about, and makes false claims while reporting on, issues related to gender and often airs blatantly sexist segments, photographs, and remarks.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about gender, SEE HERE.

Fox Regularly Misinforms About LGBT Rights. As Media Matters and Equality Matters have noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about, and makes false claims while reporting on, issues related to LGBT rights, as well as being guilty of discrimination.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about LGBT rights, SEE HERE. Also visit our partner organization, Equality Matters.

Fox Regularly Misinforms About Religion, Often By Attacking Islam And Inventing A Supposed "War On Christmas." As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about, and makes false claims while reporting on, issues related to religion. Among these false claims are those declaring that a "war" has been declared on Christianity and its holidays.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about religion, SEE HERE.


Fox Regularly Misinforms About Education. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about, and makes false claims while reporting on, issues related to public and private education, attacking educational outlets like Columbia University and Sesame Street.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about education, SEE HERE.


Fox Regularly Misinforms About Oil Drilling And Often Pushes Pro-Drilling Agenda.As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about, and makes false claims while reporting on, issues related to domestic and international drilling, including the dangers of drilling domestically, as well as misinforming about the ability of domestic oil production to reduce the national price of gasoline.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about drilling, SEE HERE.

Fox Regularly Misinforms About Climate Change. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about, and makes false claims while reporting on, issues related to climate science.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about climate, SEE HERE.

Fox Regularly Misinforms About Energy And Conservation. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about, and makes false claims while reporting on, issues related to energy and conservation, regularly making false claims having to do with wind, solar and nuclear energy, as well as misinforming about energy efficient lightbulbs.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about energy and conservation,SEE HERE.


Fox Regularly Misinforms About Crime, Often Accusing Progressives Of Being Sympathetic To Criminals. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about, and makes false claims while reporting on, issues related to crime.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about crime, SEE HERE.

Fox Regularly Misinforms About Detention And Prisons, Particularly About Gitmo Detainees. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about, and makes false claims while reporting on, issues related to detention of prisoners. In particular, Fox regularly misinforms about Gitmo detainees and the conditions at the controversial detention center.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about detention, SEE HERE.

Fox Regularly Misinforms About Guns and Gun Control, Often While Using Violent Rhetoric. As Media Matters has noted, Fox News regularly misinforms about, and makes false claims while reporting on, issues related to guns and Second Amendment rights, often while engaging in violent rhetoric.

For more information about Fox's false claims and misinformation about guns and gun control, SEE HERE.

Orders To Misinform Come Straight From The Top

CRUISE SHIP CONFESSION: Top Fox News Executive Bill Sammon Admits Lying On-Air About Obama. As Media Matters has previously documented, speaking in 2009 onboard a Mediterranean cruise sponsored by a right-wing college, Fox Washington managing editor Bill Sammon described his attempts the previous year to link Obama to "socialism" as "mischievous speculation." Sammon, who is also a Fox News vice president, acknowledged that "privately" he had believed that the socialism allegation was "rather far-fetched." [Media Matters, 3/29/11] 
Sammon Instructed Fox Employees To Misinform About Obama's Ties To Socialism.During the final days of the 2008 presidential race, Sammon used his position as a top Fox News editor to engage in a campaign to link then-Sen. Barack Obama to "Marxists" and "socialism," internal Fox documents and a review of his televised appearances show. [Media Matters, 2/1/11]
Sammon Ordered Fox Journalists To Cast Doubt On Climate Science. In an email leaked to Media Matters, Sammon instructed the network's journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question." [Media Matters,12/15/10]
Sammon Demanded Reporters Use "Government Option" Instead Of "Public Option."In a  memo leaked to Media Matters, Sammon wrote that Fox reporters should not use the phrase "public option." Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox's reporters should use "government option" and similar phrases -- wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats' reform efforts. Sammon instructed staff to refer on air to "government-run health insurance," the "government option," "the public option, which is the government-run plan," or -- when "necessary" -- "the so-called public option" [Media Matters,12/9/10]