Friday, October 22, 2010

Batting Practice: More Howlers From Keith’s Secret Wingnut Admirer at The DC Caller

She’s baaaack … for her weekly lobbing of silly spitballs at Keith Olbermann. Ruthie tries hard, at least. She claims to do it only for the money (“because we’re paid to,” thanks to Keith for her job), which hardly explains the unintended hilarious entries. Ruthie seems obsessively preoccupied with Keith, in a Glen Close kind of way. Still, it’s less weird than her boss’s recent behavior; instead, Ruthie serves up a steady diet of  harmless wingnut pokey buffoonery on the Daily Howler.

Ruthie says indignantly Keith is “mad” at Rupert Murdoch because “turns out he gave some money to the Republican Governors Association” and Keith notes, “he also runs a TV network that purports to cover news.” Doing her best clueless Christine O’Donnell imitation, Ruthie agrees: “Good point, Keith!”

Then she proceeds to go off-point, listing among Murdoch’s entertainment holdings such liberal broadcast favorites as The Simpsons, House, and 20th Century Fox which made Star Wars and (oh the humanity!) the pro-union Norma Rae. Having unburdened herself of wingnut guilt (Ruthie seems to have a glimmer of conscience, which is the first step toward recovery), back to the point: Murdoch’s contribution to the RGA. Specifically, Fox News purports to be a legitimate news organization rather than the propaganda arm of the Republican Tea Party. So when its owner contributes a whopping $2.25 million to the GOP, $1.25 of it to the RGA and the rest to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that puts the lie to its ridiculous “fair and balanced” claim over the years. This is Murdoch’s reply to a shareholder complaint about his contributions to the GOP:
RUPERT MURDOCH, NEWS CORP CEO: “We believe that it is certainly in the interest of the country and of all the shareholders and the prosperity—of the—that there be a degree of—a fair amount of change in Washington.”
Who is “we” — is it News Corp? Evidently, Rupert Murdoch doesn’t realize or care that a news organization in a free society has an ethical responsibility to be neutral and objective. Here is what Ruthie further omits from her silly little hit piece:
OLBERMANN: How much do Republicans love the Democratic focus on their secret pay masters?

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch spent much of his annual shareholders‘ meeting today fielding questions about his $1 million donation to the Republican Party, in what he thought was going to be a secret News Corp. donation to the chamber.

There‘s breaking news on that.  At this hour, it turns out it wasn‘t just $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from FOX‘s parent company, News Corp. and Rupert Murdoch. There was another donation of $250,000 more.  News Corp. is now in the books with the Chamber of Commerce for $1.25 million.

You will hear Murdoch on tape defending these actions to his shareholders later in this hour. But despite the Republican claim this story does not matter, Karl Rove‘s group today sent reporters an e-mail blast playing defense, trying focus attention on Democrats who previously also worked for groups that did not disclose their donors.

And what to make of claims by Rove‘s groups and others that they are benefiting from this scrutiny because it‘s prompting new donations? “Politico” today reporting that Rove‘s group claimed to have gotten more than $100,000 in small dollar online donation since the president began to criticize them, and that they will use that money to pump $2 million into eight more House races today.

So, how does $100,000 to get them to $2 million? A separate story in “Politico” reports $13 million raised in the same time period.  But the $100,000 was, quote, “small dollar donations,” which would make the remaining $12, 900,000 medium to large donations.”

But in our fourth story: the chairman and CEO of News Corp., Rupert Murdoch, has given the most overtly political explanation to date, regarding $2 million contributions and other one for $250,000 benefiting the Republican Party.  Quote, “It‘s certainly in the interest of the country and of all the shareholders that there be a fair amount of change in Washington.”

And now this other quarter million dollar donation has surfaced.  Today at News Corporation‘s annual shareholder meeting, stakeholders wanted to know why News Corp. had given $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which backs Republican, and $1 million more to the Republican Governors Association.

And since this morning‘s shareholders meeting, IRS disclosures show that News Corp. gave another $250,000 to the Republican Governors Association, that according to “Think Progress.”  That brings News Corp.‘s total contribution to the RGA to a million and a quarter.

As to the question posed, however, Mr. Murdoch offered only this:

MURDOCH: In these two donations that you‘re speaking of, we judged it to be in the best interests of the company.  It has nothing to do with the editorial policies or the journalism, or the films or anything or anything else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you just take a moment and explain how you believed it to be in the best interest?  How you believe it would further —

MURDOCH: No, we believed it is in the interests—we believed that it‘s certainly in the interests of the country and of all the shareholders and the prosperity of the—that there be a degree of—a fair amount of change in Washington.


OLBERMANN: Murdoch also said that News Corp.‘s political action committee had given more money to Democrats than to Republicans.  But yet, another shareholder correctly noted that those donations had been comparatively small, $78,000 to Democrats, $66,000 to Republicans in various congressional races.  The shareholder further noted the million dollar donations by News Corp., that would be kind of different.

(AUDIO CLIP - cont.)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to engage shareholders in that process?

MURDOCH: No, sorry. You have the right to vote us off the board if you don’t like it.
This is but one story reported by Countdown on a given night, all of it omitted by Ruthie. Such misrepresentations are common in wingnut media, which explains the multitude of studies showing why Fox viewers lag significantly behind viewers of programs like Countdown and Rachel Maddow in the factual knowledge necessary to make informed decisions as voters. Ruthie’s lame retort is that Glenn Greenwald in “that notorious conservative rag” (projection! DC Caller) Salon, wrote last year that “GE isn’t even bothering any longer to deny the fact that they exert control over MSNBC’s journalism.” Well, d’oh Ruthie, are you really this dense? Why do you think Keith has the following he does: because he toes the GE corporate line? Keith Olbermann is famous (infamous with the suits) for his independence, which is the single most important reason he anchors all MSNBC programming with its largest audience.

Ruthie’s waste of bandwidth consists of one silly ad hominen jab after another, since she cannot mention anything that is either substantive or in proper context. For example, “Just who are you calling an un-American bastard” blares Ruthie’s headline, with the text identifier, “As for the rest of the show, the high/low point was calling “Fox and Friends” anchor Brian Kilmeade an “un-American bastard.”

Actually, Keith didn’t, so … was Ruthie’s piece inadvertently cut here? She offers no further explanation. This is what Brian Kilmeade said, as reported in Countdown. Let the reader be the judge:
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: Not every Muslim is an extremist, a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim.

OLBERMANN: Somewhere, Timothy McVeigh is very surprised. 

But our winner, Brian Kilmeade.  There is stupid and there is bigoted and there is paranoid and there is Islamaphobic.  But it takes a big man to combine all four of them.


BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Do you think Americans have a right to look at moderate Muslims and say, show me you‘re not one of them?  Because that‘s really where we‘re a t right now as a country.


OLBERMANN:  No, we‘re not.  But that was just a warm up.  Wait for the hate.


KILMEADE:  The Shoe Bomber, the Times Square Bomber, the Underwear Bomber, they have one thing in common.  They are all extremists and they are all Muslims.  Not every Muslim is an extremist, a terrorist.  But every terrorist is a Muslim.  You can‘t avoid that fact.  And that is ridiculous that we got to keep defining this.


OLBERMANN: “Every terrorist is a Muslim.” Scott Roeder, who assassinated George Tiller, must be surprised to find out that he‘s a Muslim.  Jim David Atkison, the church murderer, who says he was inspired by Bernie Goldberg‘s writing, he converted without his knowledge apparently.  Eric Rudolph, and the guy who tried to attack the Tides Foundation and the ACUL, and the man who detonated a bomb at a mosque in Jacksonville, all Muslims.  And Timothy McVeigh.


KILMEADE:  And the people that equate Timothy McVeigh with the al Qaeda terrorist organization, which is growing, and a threat that exists --


OLBERMANN:  That‘s right, see, because when McVeigh was put to death, that ended all threats of American born terrorists on the radical right. So here‘s one for Mr. Kilmeade: not every un-American bastard is Brian Kilmeade.  But all Brian Kilmeades are un-American bastards, and tonight‘s Worse Person in the World.
As with most wingnuts, Ruthie lacks a clear ethical compass since, after all, their stock-in-trade is in being unethical, the more outrageously so the better. Nothing is out of bounds. Not even a new-born child. Ruthie was unfamiliar with guest host Cenk Uygur “It sounds like he’s going to be fun. He also named his son “Prometheus Maximus” — seriously — so he seems to have exactly the level of self-regard befitting an MSBNC host. Welcome!”

“Exactly the level of self-regard”…? Excuse me, Ruth, but what exactly does the child’s name have to do with anyone’s “self-regard” or being an MSNBC host? This is typical of wingnut invective, personalizing the hate, attacking the children, even in the absence of anything substantively objectionable about the subject. Real low blow, Ruth. (There are others too, but at least they don’t involve a child.)

There’s too much hilarity to mention. Ruthie huffs indignantly “Groan. Yes, Keith, we get it, you’re a “journalist.” (No, you’re not.)” only days after he received an Edward R. Murrow award for best writing in electronic journalism. MSNBC’s parent company, NBC, swept the top awards, while Fox was nowhere to be seen. Hmm, I wonder why? In response to Keith’s rhetorical Q&A: “Why does the chamber oppose regulation? Do they really believe it‘s about jobs? No. They believe it‘s about the bottom line for the big multinational corporations they represent.” … Ruthie offers this howler rebuttal:
“Remember, on “Countdown,” jobs are something created when nice grandmothers think happy thoughts about butterflies. Jobs smell like cinnamon and their favorite thing in the world is hugging under a rainbow. They have nothing whatsoever to do with “the bottom line” at “big multinational corporations.”
Um Ruthie, see it’s like this. Absent tax incentives (a Democratic bill blocked by Republicans) for corporations to create jobs at home, they will continue to ship and create jobs overseas by the millions (see “TEA PARTY Remedial Education: Your Candidates Are Financed By Outsource Jobs USA, Inc. Do You Care?” below) precisely because it is good for the bottom line of big multinational corporations. The connection, Ruthie, is really a no-brainer. Finally, after some garbled, confused whining about the nature of  “class warfare” politics in America, this:
“News flash, Keith: Many Americans vote based on not just their tax bracket, but on who they want to be, or what they think is best for the country. You do it, too. So stop being such a condescending creep when others act in that same spirit.”
Gee, looks like Keith touched a raw nerve by repeating the truism that middle and lower middle class people often vote against their best interests, e.g., for candidates who will get rid of tax breaks for the middle class, privatize Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, VA hospitals, kill the EPA and the Departments of Energy and Education, end affordable student loan programs, the medical patient’s bill of rights, unemployment benefits, and on and on. They might read a provocative, sensationalist headline in your wingnut rag re: fear of  burkas, or sinister-looking illegals, and be so very afraid as to punch that (‘R’) for the corporate candidate whose policies will royally screw them in the short, medium, and long term. Happens all the time. It’s not really a surprise, given the level of misinformation and fear trafficked by wingnut propaganda outlets.

There was more weird stuff from Ruthie re: Michael Phelps in a speedo and Superman Keith avoiding the Kryptonite … best not to go there. Her historical faux pas deserve a post by themselves. But this is my favorite Ruthie howler: “Tonight Keith got himself in a huff over New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino over “his shouting and his tone,” which is pretty rich coming from the president of Shouters Anonymous.”

Wow. ¡Qué rico, Hoochie! (trans: That’s rich, Ruthie!) As luck would have it, I have located a priceless vid of the president of Shouters Anonymous. Enjoy!

Reading wingnut media (not watching it — the principal participants are much too repulsive) is similar to experiencing a Sam Peckinpah film (The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs) while on a caipirinha buzz. It’s one slightly unbelievable shocker after another. Of course, what Peckinpah did was high art. Wingnut media is more like low-brow performance art turned accidental satire.

(I’m beginning to think there’s something to this reptilian brain, lizard people thing.)

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