Wednesday, January 12, 2005

O'Reilly on American Generosity, and Other Dishonest Fox News Coverage

For some unknown reason to me, I have recently been paying some attention to the right wing pundits on Fox News, occasionally viewing an episode of the O'Reilly Factor or Hannity and Colmes. The net effect has been to further enrage and motivate me. I cannot watch more than two consecutive minutes of Bill O'Reilly without feeling completely enraged at the outright intellectual dishonesty of this guy.

During the Christmas season, every time I turned on Hannity or O'Reilly, I found them discussing the "Assault/siege on Christmas". This story was entirely manufactured by Fox News as a wedge issue to make the Christian right feel like their values were being attacked the elite liberals. What a complete joke! There was nothing to report, yet I feel like they used about 40% of their airtime covering this non-story.

The past couple of days, I have heard O'Reilly repeatedly state that America is the most generous country in the world. This, despite the fact that a recent study has shown that America by far devotes the smallest percentage of their GDP out of a list of 22 industrialized countries. The US provides 14 cents of foreign aid for every $100 of the nation's GDP. Compare this to Norway at 92 cents, Denmark at 84 cents and the Netherlands at 81 cents. Yesterday, in an appearance with Ann Coulter, I finally heard O'Reilly back this claim by stating their version of foreign aid includes A) Direct Foreign Aid B) Private Philanthropy and C) Military Spending.

WHAT???? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? O'Reilly stated that since the United States are the World's Super Police, Military spending should be considered a form of foreign aid. Today I heard that the average American citizen spends about $6,200 of their taxes to foreign aid in the form of Government Entitlements. This 2003 U.S. Budget included $17 Billion to spend towards direct foreign aid, and a whopping $379 Billion in Military Spending.

I mean, I'm sure the third world countries are all happy that spending billions upon billions of dollars in defense contracts to produce B-2 Bombers and Weapons of Mass Destruction, but you have to agree that to classify this spending as generous foreign aid spending is disingenuous and outright dishonest.

The other day it came out that right wing pundit Armstrong Williams was caught being paid directly by the Bush Administration to publicly support the administration's No Child Left Behind Act. In other words, our government was engaged directly in government propaganda. This is arguably the biggest news story of the year -- The once highly respected media known as the fourth estate has been reduced to a direct arm of the Bush Administration. But, how did the media respond to this story? Simply by making rathergate, which was a 4 month old story, the top story on every major cable network.

O'Reilly invested a large segment of his show feigning mock-disgust at the audacity of CBS to air a story without having the facts to back it up. Come on' -- this is from a guy who routinely lies on his show multiple times per episode (The Paris Business Review anybody?)

So, to summarize, we have two stories: In one, Dan Rather, a man with over 22 years of experience in the field as a respected journalist, makes one mistake, by using documents that were not thoroughly vetted for their accuracy. It was a mistake, and it was quickly admitted afterwards. This is quite unlike the right wing blowhards like O'Reilly, Coulter, Hannity, Limbaugh, Scarborough, and Savage, who are all intellectually dishonest day-in-and-day-out. Do we ever hear an apology from these scumbags? Of course not.

The bigger story missing here is that the Bush Administration was never able to explain where Bush was during his supposed service at the Texas Air National Guard. Where was the paperwork? What documents were removed, and what were they covering up? Why did he fail to show up for his medical exam? The only documentation they have to demonstrate Bush's service was a dental exam. While we are at, why has the Bush Administration failed to produce a single witness that could testify to the fact that the were aware of Bush's presence while he was serving at the Air National Guard. You think that during his time in service, he would've made a friend or two. Once the document forgery story broke out, this story was completely forgotten about. You think there would be some burden of proof on the part of the Bush Administration to excuse this story.

Now, compare this to Armstrong Williams -- A man disguised as a journalist, paid a sum of a quarter million dollars to provide propaganda from the Bush Administration. This is simply disgusting. The interesting item to note is that Williams alluded to the fact that he is far from the only one that is on the government payroll. A widescale effort has been started in the Blogosphere to track down this story, with an army of blogging fact-checkers, and the utilization of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests. One such effort can be found on the website Daily Kos, with a project entitled "No pundit Left Behind".

Once again, the media has failed us. Time after time, massive breaches of accountability are demonstrated by the Bush Administration...and, time after time, the mass media sits complaisantly by and ignores the shameless contemptuousness of it all. The continually perpetuated myth of a liberal elite media bias is the biggest crock I have ever heard.

Well, I hope this is the one. I hope the Army of Bloggers digs through these FOIA requests to expose a massive systemic level of fraudulent propaganda on the part of the Bush administration and the Right Wing Media. I hope this propaganda scheme goes all the way to the top. Time after time after time, the mass media has given a pass on the Bush Administration. When will the American people step up and say that enough is enough. The Bush Administration has demonstrated an enormous level of hubris -- they have stopped at nothing to attempt to remain in power. Except for a few brave souls, the media is composed of nothing more than timid and cowardly weasels. If we ever hope to stop the barreling trainwreck that is the Bush administration, it will be up the blogosphere. Is it too much to hope for to believe that we can actually find a story that will stop the administration dead in it's tracks. Maybe so...but one can only hope. One can only hope that the Bush Administration will continue to disrespect the American People to the point where they can no longer take it. The apathetic populace of this country needs to wake up, become energized, politicized, and re-invigorated. The fact that the Bush Administration was somehow re-elected is the single most stupefying and mind-blowing piece of trivia I will ever hear or imagine.