Posts Tagged ‘Fox’

Murdoch Is Sorry…That He Got Caught

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

By Michael Kaufman

“Yes,” write Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan this week in their syndicated weekly column, “Murdoch is sorry —that he got caught.” Their column sometimes runs in the op-ed pages of the Times Herald-Record.… but not this week. As the Record dutifully notes in its articles covering the scandal involving Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp global media empire, “News Corp. owns NewsCore and Dow Jones Local Media Group, of which the Times Herald-Record is a unit.”

Goodman and Moynihan, colleagues on the Democracy Now! radio and television broadcasts, make some telling points in the column titled, “The questions hanging over Murdoch, USA.”

They note how the “contagion affecting News Corp” has spread rapidly in the U.S., as indicated by the FBI  investigation of potential criminal hacking of the voicemails of victims of the 9/11 attacks and calls by lawmakers and grassroots groups for an investigation into whether the bribing of police was a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. “As News Corp is a U.S. corporation, registered in the business-friendly state of Delaware, even bribery abroad could lead to felony charges in the U.S.”

If News of the World employees engaged in illegal attempts to access voicemails and the FBI investigation leads to indictments, however, “the most likely outcome would be extradition requests against the alleged offenders, which could drag on for years,” they explain.

“Meanwhile, Murdoch runs his media empire in the U.S. as an unvarnished political operation. Fox News Channel, run by career Republican operative Roger Ailes, is home to the most consistently vitriolic critics of Barack Obama. Leaked memos and emails from Fox vice-president of News, John Moody, and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon allegedly offer evidence of top-down directives to control the message throughout the news day, from linking Obama to Marxism and socialism, to denigrating a public option in the U.S. healthcare debate, to promoting skepticism about climate change.”

Goodman and Moynihan also recount acts of violence that may have been influenced in part by the exhortations of some Fox hosts. “In July 2010, Byron Williams loaded his car in Northern California with a small arsenal, donned body armor, and set off for San Francisco, intending to massacre people at two of [Glenn] Beck’s regular targets, the Tides Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union. When police tried to pull him over for speeding, Williams started firing and was arrested.” Williams later told a reporter, “I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn’t for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he exposed that blew my mind.”

Similarly, Fox host Bill O’Reilly repeatedly castigated Dr. George Tiller, one of the only medical doctors in Kansas who performed abortions, referring to him as “Tiller the Baby Killer” on at least 29 occasions. “In 2009 Tiller was shot in the head at point-blank range, while attending church, by an anti-abortion extremist.”

Aside from the enormous direct influence of his media properties, say Goodman and Moynihan, “Murdoch doles out political contributions. Prior to the 2010 Republican landslide Murdoch gave $1million of News Corp cash to the Republican Governors Association, the group that helped push far-right candidates to executive office around the U.S., notably Scott Walker, who provoked massive labor protests in Wisconsin, and former Fox commentator John Kasich in Ohio.”

Needless to say, Goodman and Moynihan are not impressed by News Corp’s announcement that it is conducting its own internal investigation: “Board members Joel Klein and Viet Dinh….are taking active roles managing the crisis. Dinh was assistant attorney-general under George W. Bush and a principal author of the Patriot Act, the law that, among other things, prompted an unprecedented expansion of government eavesdropping.” Moreover, according to recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Dinh and other directors sold off stock options (with Dinh netting about $25,000) as the scandal broke.

“Klein, a former justice department attorney and chancellor of the New York City school system, joined the board recently to focus on its digital learning business. The New York Daily News reports that a business News Corp acquired just after Klein joined the board is now facing scrutiny, since it deals with schoolchildren’s personal data. New York State awarded Wireless Generation a no-bid, $27 million contract. Now parents are questioning whether News Corp should have such access.

“Perhaps,” say Goodman and Moynihan, “the greatest threat to Murdoch will come from grassroots organizations. The activist group Color of Change has already mounted a protest outside Murdoch’s New York Central Park apartment.” That group was co-founded by Van Jones, appointed by Obama to promote creation of “green” jobs but forced to resign after a withering assault by Beck and other Fox commentators. According to Goodman and Moynihan, an advertising boycott campaign mounted by the group “is largely credited with forcing Beck off the network.”

Murdoch’s hacks at Fox derided Jones and other Obama appointees as “czars” while ignoring the one person who deserves that appellation perhaps more than anyone since Nicholas II, Rupert Murdoch.

Michael can be reached at michael@zestoforange.com.

The Answers are in the Stars

Monday, January 24th, 2011

By Bob Gaydos

I blame it all on the stars. The ones in the sky, not on reality television. If they could have just stayed where they were supposed to stay, where they have been for billions and billions of Carl Sagan years, none of this other stuff would be happening.

You know, thousands of birds dropping dead out of the sky. Dead crabs washing up on the shore of Great Britain. Rightwing blowhards being dropped by conservative radio stations. A leftwing bloviate shown the door by a leftwing TV station. Republicans muttering not so much under their breath anymore that they wish Sarah Palin would just shut up.

Just when we had the sides all chosen up for the game, someone went and moved the stars and suddenly I’m a Taurus, not a Gemini. But hey, I don’t feel like a Taurus. I have been Gemini-like pretty much since I became aware of the signs of the Zodiac. Charming split personality, that’s me. Keep your bull to yourself, Parke Kunkle.

What kind of name is that anyway? Parke Kunkle. Who names a kid Parke when he’s already got Kunkle to carry around? Kunkle is an astronomy instructor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, which sounds like a great place to get lost for your career. But with the Internet, nobody need be lost forever. So when Kunkle sat for an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune to help fill their Sunday paper, the stars were already aligned for his moment in the sun. (Please don’t tell me how to mix my metaphors. It’s my blog.)

Kunkle told the Sun that the stars had moved. Well, the Sun didn’t know anything about it, so it ran a story about how the Zodiac was all messed up and those signs people follow in the paper every day to help them plan their lives were, how to say this delicately, wrong.

OK, I can feel the scientists out there getting agitated about the stars “moving” references. That’s just a writer’s conceit, see? I know the stars didn’t really move, but it makes it easier to get people into the story than telling them the earth actually tilted on its axis thousand of years ago, altering its alignment with the stars and, of course, altering the signs of the zodiac, which were conceived about 5,000 years ago and are based on the earth/stars alignment. See how boring it can be explaining science? Call it the Fox news approach.

But here’s the real deal: Good old Parke tells us that scientists knew about this starry shift 2,000 years ago. Wow. How come WikiLeaks couldn’t find out about this? Not content to leave it there, with Pisces now Aries and Virgo now Libra, he also tells us there are really 13, not 12 constellations.

The scientists have known about this a long time as well, he says. Apparently they kept Number 13, Ophiuchus (Nov. 29-Dec. 17), secret because 12 signs fit neatly into a calendar year and Ophiucus is a yucchy name to say, much less have to admit to being one.

So there you have it. That’s why the birds dropped dead in Arkansas and Louisiana. It wasn’t the weather or bad food or poor navigation skills. It’s also why we’re having all these snowy days in January. I’m convinced it’s why Andrew Luck, the best quarterback in college football, decided to stay at Stanford for another year instead of coming out to be the first draft choice of the worst team in the National Football League, the Carolina Panthers, who (I could not resist this) truly have no luck at all.

It’s why WOR Radio in New York and WPHT in Philadelphia have dropped Glenn Beck, not because his ratings were falling and advertisers were leaving. It’s also why WPHT also dropped Sean Hannity, who had previously been dropped by KSL Radio, a Mormon station, in Utah. It has nothing to do with Beck ranting about crime around Independence Hall or KSL’s mission statement which calls for advancing “integrity, civility, morality, and respect for all people.” Its just Aquarius and Capricorn not knowing what’s what or who’s who.

Same goes for Keith Olbermann, the brightest and loudest star in the MSNBC galaxy, getting the quick shuffle out the door to even the sides. Here’s your money, Keith; keep your mouth shut.

The wacked-out zodiac (and what do you think the zodiac killer is thinking these days?) may well be responsible for the recent strange conversation between the president of the American Atheist Group and Bill O’Reilly, who still has a job at Fox news, but who has been told by his boss, Roger Ailes, to “shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually.”

The atheists had posted a billboard calling religion a scam. O’Reilly said he could prove them wrong: “I’ll tell you why it’s not a scam in my opinion: Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that.”

Atheist: “Tide goes in, tide goes out?”

O’Reilly: “See, the water, the tide comes in and it goes out … It always comes in, and always goes out. You can’t explain that.”

Now, had the stars not been out of alignment for thousands of years, O’Reilly may have known, intellectually, that tides rise and fall due to the combined gravitational effects on the Earth caused by the Moon and the Sun. That what the scientists tell us. For thousands of years, how these celestial bodies are aligned has determined the daily rise and fall of sea levels. It’s a scientific fact. You know, the same way that how the stars are aligned with the Earth has determined what happens in our personal lives for thousands of years. …

Actually, it’s all Parke’s fault.

bob@zestoforange.com