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White House to media: You lap up Breitbart's nonsense, too!

Okay, Robert Gibbs made a really interesting point at the briefing just now: He delicately pointed out to the assembled reporters that their news organizations had also been too quick to accept the Breitbart video at face value.

This is important, because it hints at a frustration inside the White House that it rarely voices publicly: White House officials are often forced to respond to stories ginned up by the right because other news orgs too readily give them credibility.

The key moment came when Gibbs was asked by a reporter if the moral of this story is "don't trust the internet."

Gibbs replied that news organizations had asked the White House for a response to Breitbart's two-and-a-half-minute video, when the speech was more than 43 minutes long.

"I had a lot of people asking for a response to the two and a half minutes," Gibbs said. "My guess is you heard from a lot of your editors saying, Go get reaction to this story."

Gibbs then described the media process. "You all see it, you all want reaction, we get reaction," Gibbs said. He lamented that news orgs then aired the two-and-a-half minute snippet, as well as the White House reaction based on that snippet, without seeking fuller context themselves.

Gibbs then suggested that media orgs, too, should ask themselves if they handled this properly: "I don't think there's anybody involved in that chain that wouldn't think, from start to finish, that this shouldn't have been handled differently."

Translation: Maybe you all should stop using Breitbart as your assignment editor.

Obviously there's no excusing the administration's conduct, as Gibbs himself repeatedly said. And the administration, by letting itself get duped by Breitbart, both fell prey to and enabled the process Gibbs is complaining about.

But Gibbs did make an important point here: Big news orgs are far too willing to take their cues from people who are known to cook the facts on a regular basis. It's true that Gibbs didn't directly call out right wing media, but his point was clear enough, and one can only hope media figures give it a passing moment of thought and don't just cynically dismiss it as spin.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 21, 2010; 3:59 PM ET
Categories:  Political media  
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Comments

Meanwhile, among other things going on, there's a Civil War going on at the RNC over huge amounts of hidden debt.

"""Now, we know that at least some of what Pullen is charging is already true -- the RNC had to file amended reports to explain previously unreported debt. But according to the RNC's own treasurer, Steele and others at party headquarters did this deliberately, allegedly going to literally criminal lengths to hide party debts and financial troubles."""

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_07/024832.php

Potential criminal activity at the RNC? Anyone care?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Ethan: This post goes directly to the heart of what you have been saying: That the focus should be on Breitbart and the willingness of news orgs to grant him and his ilk credibility.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 21, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Boehner's job creation plan?

Go back to the Bush-era status quo:

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/boehners-recipe-for-creating-jobs-go-backward-a-couple-years.php

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

this is a very imporant point. now we can have meta stories about the media being suckers for this bs.

now, when the rightwingers try this again, we can tell the media to do their jobs and verify rather than uncritically push made up nonsense.

this is also how we can call out the originators of this filth.

and greg, i wouldn't be bothered about thinking this is an important set of issues. it's vitally important.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

White House officials are often forced to respond to stories ginned up by the right because other news orgs too readily give them credibility.
=======================

Exactly! And I made that point earlier today, Greg. Yet you have papers like the Post and the NYT saying they need to cater even more to the nonsense cooked up by rightwing propagandists.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 21, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

'Yet you have papers like the Post and the NYT saying they need to cater even more to the nonsense cooked up by rightwing propagandists.'

and these events will go a long way in stopping that.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

thanks blahgblogwordpresscom, I think that's right. this episode is so glaring that it really might force people to be more cautious in future...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 21, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

"This post goes directly to the heart of what you have been saying"

I do appreciate it.

Breitbart and Fox News are RACE-BAITORS.

What more need be said? That was obvious from the get-go, well before actually. We, the Left, missed an opportunity to attack them by focusing all our attention on demanding a WH apology.

I hope we have a chance to go after Breitbart's core competence -- that he is somehow considered a "journalist" or that his fraudulent hit-pieces amount to "news" -- but at this point I'd be surprised if anything more comes of this other than the WH apology that is now being splashed all over the MSM (instead of the news that the Right race-baits, which is the real story that should be on every MSM outlet).

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

According to TPM, Vilsack will have a presser at 4:45 today.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 21, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

ethan,

we didn't miss anything. it's happening now. breitbart, fox, and many, many voices of the right will be forever tarred with this.

now we can point to a specific instance of their scumminess. and by saying that i don't want to in any way downplay or minimize sherrod's bad treatment.

does anyone know how realistic an option suing breitbart and maybe fox as well is?

i'd guess she'd have more luck with breitbart, but...

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Right wing media is tarnishing all news imho. They are dragging everyone down to their level.

If there is not a significant push back against Murdoch's outlets and the rest of the right wing, I'm not sure where journalism and news is headed? I don't know why the rest of news orgs aren't up for the fight? They get smeared every day without fighting back.

Do the other news orgs think in the long run they'll win this fight by taking the hits and American's will wise up and tune Fox and the rest of the propaganda machine out?

It's becoming the dumbification of America.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 21, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I view how this story is continuing to capture the media news cycle as a massive win for the Right Wingers, and a strong incentive for them to do more of the same.

What media is Greg talking about. Isn't he just as guilty. He can not let go of this story, and cover the big news of the day;

Such as John Boehner promising to return the country to the Bush era,

and This great President signing the Biggest Banking Reform Bill, since The Depression.

No coverage of that on Plumline, so of course that means that Democrats will not get any bump from having done the right thing.


Posted by: Liam-still | July 21, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I hope the media and "others" have learned a real lesson here. I think the fact that the story took down an innocent bystander in an attempt to take down the NAACP and the WH is the difference here. That kind of thing pisses people off and now maybe everyone will gather facts before just passing along the latest right wing attack.

Glad they signed the fin/reg bill and now we can anxiously await the pick for deputy of the CFPB. It's the regulators who will make this thing work.

And liam, I know you signed off already but just so you know, I'm fighting like crazy to keep the GOP from taking over again, I'm not crazy. But at the same time I'm also fighting for the President and his administration to do a better job. I don't happen to think those two goals are mutually exclusive.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 21, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, just so you understand where I (and maybe others) am coming from....

Breitbart and FAUX are the true villans, but what they did was smear Shirley's reputation. The Administration actually removed her means of earning a living! I hope in the future that they will have the good sense to put someone on administrative leave while they investigate. That is the only responsible way for an EMPLOYER to react to sh*t like this.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 21, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

And how can someone like Ed Henry who is now the President of the WHCA want Fox to have a front row seat? Especially after something like this when there are those on their network that are still claiming the lady is a racist?

Fox is a propaganda network. Every news org needs to point this out. It's endless propaganda masked as a legit news source.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 21, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I would hope so, Greg. However...

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_09/020146.php

"September 28, 2009 - TAKING THE WRONG MARCHING ORDERS (AGAIN).... A week ago, Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander questioned whether enough attention is being paid to what conservative activists, Fox News, and right-wing talk radio consider important. He lamented the fact that his paper, while offering extensive coverage of important current events, neglected to invest energy into ACORN and Van Jones."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/16/AR2010071604081.html

"Why the silence from The Post on Black Panther Party story?

By Andrew Alexander Ombudsman Sunday, July 18, 2010"

Is our media lurnin'?
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 21, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Liam, I have done a whole bunch of posts on the GOP promise to return to the Bush agenda. Just sayin'.

And What Lmsinca Said, a thousand times.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 21, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

liam,

in the short term this sucks much of the oxygen out of the air. but those success and examples of rightwing idiocy will still be there.

the longer term benefit is that the recent structure of breitbart types and fox driving media narratives has taken a huge hit.

this is big. this is good. and this is an important story.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

@lm: 'I don't happen to think those two goals are mutually exclusive.'

exactly.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I don't think you're "obsessed" with this story, and I don't think you need to apologize for covering it so thoroughly.

If anything, I think it illustrates that you, as a serious journalist, have a conscience when it comes to seeing the absurd freak show that passes as journalism at Fox News.

It's a big story when a right-wing propaganda machine with an unapologetic, destructive agenda is able to pass itself off in a democracy as real journalism.

I took a handful of journalism classes in college, and what I see coming from Fox News literally makes me nauseous sometimes. I can only imagine what professional journalists who are trying to live up to a standard of verifiable journalistic ethics feel.

Posted by: elscott | July 21, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Also throw into the mix: As an avid viewer of cable news, it seems to me that at present it is cool to report anti-Obama "news" regardless of the perceived bent of the cable outlet. Why is that? Support for the President was ratings gold from 2001 to 2008. Supporting the President was patriotic, and disagreement was tantamount to treason. Should not the citizens of America support their President even when they disagree with policy?

I, for one, am proud of our Nobel Prize President.

Posted by: jgau4 | July 21, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

OK. Huffington Post is officially in the tank for Breitbart. Headline story barely mentions him.

This story is about Breitbart and the site has failed to headline a story about it the entire time.

Now, I know Huffington Post was created by Breitbart but is Arianna still beholden to him or what?

What a sorry excuse for a site.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 21, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Well the Sherrod story has one huge advantage for liberal leaning "journalists". It distracts America from the journolist scandal.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 21, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I think this story deserves coverage. I understand liberals would like it to go away because the administration looks dumb but press needs to keep the heat on this until this woman gets her job back. She should have it back already. The administration will have no choice but to rehire her if the media keeps up the pressure. We've seen time after time they are susceptible to cable pressure. Nevermind, I see they just offered her job back. Took long enough. It was just a matter of time now they can get this behind them.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 21, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Now Greg can get back to Angle smears.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 21, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"breitbart, fox, and many, many voices of the right will be forever tarred with this"

'Scuse for my sarcasm blahg, but YEAH RIGHT.

Liam at 4:26 is spot on. Unfortunately.

If we really want to get in front of this story we should have someone infiltrate the BigGovt network and take it down from the inside.

Or plant a fake "reverse racism" story by contacting them with a segment of a video showing an African-American govt employee making controversial comments, except that this time the African-American govt employee would be in on the gag.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Breitbart must be using Huffington Post right now to bend the narrative of liberal leaning blogs.

Can anyone find out what kind of influence he has there? I bet the liberal community would like to know.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 21, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

AP: Case Closed In U.S. Attorney Firings With No Charges

The AP is reporting that the Department of Justice has closed its investigation into the U.S. attorney firings and will not file any charges.

The Bush Administration spent several years fighting allegations that it had fired several U.S. attorneys for politically motivated reasons, and then ignoring subpoenas by Congress to testify about the firings. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned because of the scandal.

You can find past TPMmuckraker coverage of the scandal here and here, and a timeline here.

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/ap_case_closed_in_us_attorney_firings_with_no_char.php?ref=fpa

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 21, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

It only sucks oxygen out of covering the other big stories, only if Media Suckers are willing to keep on being Suckers. That is what disappoints me about how Greg has become so obsessed with this one story, affecting one person, who lost her job, probably completely unfairly.

I can take you to prison systems, all over this land, and show you thousands upon thousands of young black men, who have been locked away for long periods of time, for minor offenses. Yet the media completely ignores their far worse plight, and all those grave injustices.


It is fine to cover this story; but show some perspective, and report on some more of the important other stories of the day.

For Example:

As of 01:29 pm PDT

* Obama signs sweeping financial overhaul into law (AP)
* White House apologizes to ousted Ag worker (AP)
* Blagojevich: 'It is my decision' not to testify (AP)
* Brewing storm threatens to halt BP's oil well fix (AP)
* DOJ: No charges for Bush-era US attorney firings (AP)
* Large China oil spill threatens sea life, water (AP) " events of the day:"

And John Boehner made big news today,

and all Greg can come up with is; I talked about Boehner on other occasions. What the hell does that have to do with reporting about what he told the NY Times today!

Posted by: Liam-still | July 21, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

ethan,

well, we'll just have to disagree on that. i and many others, including you i'm sure, will be pointing to this episode in the future. it's big.

now we can keep the convo going about how the racist nature of so much of the rightwing media.

go over to redstate right now if you want to get a taste of it. that was always downplayed by the 'serious' rightwing media and politicians as just unserious fringe elements.

now the lid has been totally blown off that cover story.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

What is this going to change? The memory of political journalists in this country is roughly that of a goldfish. Y'all didn't change after the ACORN videos were shown to be false. You didn't bother to correct anything when it was revealed that Rev. Wright's "God d--n America" video was also heavily edited (the full video on Alternet shows that he was quoting someone he saw on, wait for it, Fox News). The mainstream corporate press doesn't care. It doesn't matter. This will change nothing.

Posted by: dkp01 | July 21, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

It's not like Greg is the only one covering this. Give me a break. This is just about wall to wall everywhere right now. It's a big story.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 21, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: I appreciate that you did not mention "Fox News Channel" in this post. I don't understand why your readers are singling out FNC for this incident. I agree that they were wrong to not check out the full context before hyping the story, but they are not the only news source (not just "right wing" news sources) that reported on the edited video or asked for WH comment. (There's a reason Gibbs did not single out right wing news outfits.) This was a failure of news media in general to verify a story before hyping it. FNC, as an integral part of its business model, will always hype sensational stories.

It would appear that since the infamous forged papers of Dan Rather that we have not learned a thing...

Posted by: sbj3 | July 21, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"We've lost everything" says First Family

http://www.theonion.com/articles/local-family-homeless-after-tornado-destroys-white,17757/

Sort of puts things in perspective.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 21, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The key dynamic that Breitbart is at the heart of is the signature Fox tactic of fabricating a piece of "news" and then causing it to be reported on. It's the subsequent reporting that gives "reality" to the story by virtue of coverage making it seem real. The sense of objectivity the TV news network adds to a story confers power on it.

The genius of Fox is to not care whether any of it happened, or at least happened in a way that conflicts with their ideological goals.

We are through the looking glass here, people.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 21, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

fox has been hyping the bogus new black panther party and jumped on this with a vengeance.

do you deny that fox has a racist slant?

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

BG, I think McCain began our fall down the rabbit hole with Sarah "palling around with terrorists" Palin. That was a drug they could all take, to the detriment not only of the Presidency but the entire nation.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 21, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

There are serious people who think the NBP story is important.

I can't deny that Fox is racist (The Simpsons?)

I can say that I would like to see the particular evidence that FNC's reporting about this incident proves they are racist.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 21, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, it'll be a big story for a day or two, until something new and shiny comes along.

Posted by: dkp01 | July 21, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

"But Gibbs did make an important point here: Big news orgs are far too willing to take their cues from people who are known to cook the facts on a regular basis. It's true that Gibbs didn't directly call out right wing media, but his point was clear enough, and one can only hope media figures give it a passing moment of thought and don't just cynically dismiss it as spin."

One can hope they do more than give a passing moment of thought, and actually work to stop being so willing to embrace conservative hit pieces (e.g., flag pin "controversy," ACORN, Van Jones controversy, Obama speech to students, etc.).

Real introspection and reevaluation of how the media handles these issues is imperative.

By the way, another aspect of this story should be the ascendancy of the fact-checking abilities of progressive blogs. This story would not have turned as swiftly as it did without their work.

Posted by: associate20 | July 21, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

who are the 'serious people' who think the nbpp story is legit?

the simpons? seriously. you do realize the difference between fnc and the production company, no?

please be serious. you know we are talking about fox 'news.'

as with the nbpp fake story, they are hyping false stories about black people being racist against whites. if you are really saying fox news is not racist, then you're either lying or not paying attention.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Vilsack Moves Into Full Damage-Control Mode After Sherrod Debacle

In the wake of the Shirley Sherrod debacle, and his Keystone Kops-eqsue role in it, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack shifted into a full damage-control mode this afternoon. He reportedly called Shirley Sherrod to offer her back her job (she was, at publication time, still considering), held a press conference at the Agriculture Department at which he offered her a public apology and prepared to follow it up with a reported confab with the Congressional Black Caucus.

So much for limiting the fall-out from the Breitbart video.

At the press conference, Vilsack told reporters that he had apologized to Sherrod for the pain and discomfort her family has experienced, and allowed her to vent her feelings. She was, he said, "extraordinarily gracious" while he accepted responsibility for the circumstances. He told the press that he asked her for personal forgiveness and she had give it to him.

Vilsack noted that her history as a claimant against the Agriculture Department in the Pigford Case, her experiences with the department and in helping farmers in the area make her uniquely qualified for to work for USDA. He reported that he had offered her a new position within USDA and she was considering whether to accept.

Vilsack denied there was any pressure from the White House to ask Sherrod to resign, and said it was his decision alone -- one that he regrets and which was made in haste. Vilsack said he made his decision after seeing a transcript of Breitbart's clipped video. In the midst of the chaos, he did say that the White House's liaison's office was inform but that the decision to request her resignation was his alone.

In response to a question from TPMDC, Vilsack called the debacle "a teachable moment for me." He admitted that Sherrod had received advance notice of Breitbart's intention to (mis)use the clip and had attempted to inform her superiors, including Vilsack, by email -- but the email did not get through, and thus her superiors' first contact with her regarding the incident was after Breitbart's release of the clip.


http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/vilsack_moves_into_full_damage-control_mode_after.php?ref=fpa

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 21, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

@associate: 'By the way, another aspect of this story should be the ascendancy of the fact-checking abilities of progressive blogs. This story would not have turned as swiftly as it did without their work.'

good point

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

"Another aspect of this story should be the ascendancy of the fact-checking abilities of progressive blogs."

I think it is actually the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that deserves credit?

Posted by: sbj3 | July 21, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

probably the worst mistake in judgement obama has made since becoming president from coffee room gossip to president"s decision he violated a basic principle its bad enough to make the wrong choice after listening to both sides but to make on the basis of one side without the other sides take is an egregious error
very bad

Posted by: hagens001 | July 21, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I was just about to say that I'm glad the administration is coming clean on this for two reasons. One, is that it's the right thing to do and that's an accomplishment in itself in politics. But the other is that it makes it tougher for the story to just be about the administration's actions, while the people who perpetrated the scam in the first place slither away in the confusion to do again another day.

Speaking of whom, dumb question: does anyone know if Sherrod has grounds for a libel suit against any of the people who falsified the tape and/or flogged the story? Seems like maybe she would, but I'm no attorney.

Posted by: CalD | July 21, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Greg, for the roundup:

NO CHARGES in the US Attorney firings investigation.

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/ap_case_closed_in_us_attorney_firings_with_no_char.php?ref=fpa

Gonzo goes free!

Wonder if he's drawing unemployment?

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 21, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

>>White House officials are often forced to respond to stories ginned up by the right because other news orgs too readily give them credibility.

Well, as Gomer Pyle might say, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!" This kind of nonsense has been going on for at least twenty years, and Democrats have finally figured it out?

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

Posted by: CaroKay | July 21, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3: Fox was by far the most outrageous in pimping this story.

Posted by: srw3 | July 21, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: The DoJ firings story would make a nice bookend for the Sherrod story. Both nothing more than manufactured controversies.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 21, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

@srw: "@sbj3: Fox was by far the most outrageous in pimping this story."

Let's say I grant you that even though I am not personally aware.

How does that make FNC a racist organization? When Fox News gets a piece of sensational tape they run with it - in itself doesn't make them racist.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 21, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

sbj on the Bush DoJ and US Attorney firings:

Fail.

If you don't know anything about the DoJ and how it works, or worked until the Bush folks got a hold of it, then comment on something else.

Maybe how to make a casserole or something easy.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 21, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

"It's true that Gibbs didn't directly call out right wing media, but his point was clear enough, and one can only hope media figures give it a passing moment of thought and don't just cynically dismiss it as spin."

Ok...I have to ask then, what are YOU hearing? You obviously have a much better perch from which to see how media types are responding -- including the ability to actually ASK THEM.

So, ask them.

Send a few emails and ask those in the media whether this is being taken as a moment of revelation that FOX and right-wing media is willing to fudge facts to fit an agenda and thus they will take more care in putting stock in it's reporting...or if they simply blow off Gibbs' remarks as empty spin and will continue to see FOX as a legitimate news outlet.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 21, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

@BG: "sbj on the Bush DoJ and US Attorney firings: Fail."

Let's just look at the results of the two year (!!!) investigation, shall we?

"Evidence did not demonstrate that any prosecutable criminal offense was committed with regard to the removal of David Iglesias," the Justice Department said in a letter to lawmakers Wednesday. "The investigative team also determined that the evidence did not warrant expanding the scope of the investigation beyond the removal of Iglesias."

"Prosecutors also said there was insufficient evidence to charge someone with lying to Congress or investigators."

There IS an allegation of inappropriate politicization.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 21, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

sbj,

again, fox is pimping fake news about black people being racist against whites. the nbpp are a *very* small group of crazy loons, but fox has been endlessly running stories about it. then they push false allegations about sherrod being racist against white people.

is it your position that these are not racist actions? if so, please explain how they're not racist.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

BBQ: "Send a few emails and ask those in the media whether this is being taken as a moment of revelation that FOX and right-wing media is willing to fudge facts to fit an agenda and thus they will take more care in putting stock in it's reporting..."

Oh that will just make the WaPo ombudsman wring his hands that conservative readers are getting ticked off.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 21, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

@blah: "Is it your position that these are not racist actions? if so, please explain how they're not racist."

I can not say that FNC is racist.

I can guarantee that FNC will hype any piece of sensational video or story. The fact that there is a racial element to the stories does not prove racism.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 21, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

"We are through the looking glass here, people."

And WITHOUT the LSD!

Posted by: wbgonne | July 21, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Where are the Left's undercover operatives?

The Right got this story from inside the NAACP.

They stole private emails on climate science.

They infiltrated then exposed journolist.

They will do anything to win. We whine. Where are OUR ops? Who is doing OUR opposition research? Whoever they are, they are totally ineffective and getting destroyed by their Right wing counterparts.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Ethan: Where is our 24/7 television network?! There are a lot of rich Liberals (I'm not one, of course). I wish they'd get together like the Conservative Money People have been doing for years. Start funding ThinkTanks and research. Make MSNBC is FULL-TIME network. There must be a counterweight to Fox or else it's like p*ssing in the wind.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 21, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Roger Ailes has a long history of race-baiting for the GOP, sbj3.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201007190027

It continues to this day with his FAUX news employees.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 21, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

sbj,

if you really can't see what's in the clear light of day then you're not being serious.

frankly, i think it's pretty obvious that you're being disingenuous.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

digby has a good take on the right wing media in general. she quotes frumm lamenting that rightwingers won't hold breitbart to account and concludes with this:

'He's addressing the "conservative intelligentsia" there, but I think this phenomenon is clearly less a matter of narrow-mindedness and ignoring of unwelcome fact than a conscious decision to lie for political ends. The rank and file are misinformed because they are being purposefully led astray by the same conservative intelligentsia which owns and operates the right wing media.

This isn't a result of "epistemic closure." It's a result of professional propagandists successfully applying their trade. Let's not pretend it's an accident.'

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/epistemic-closure-is-progagandist.html

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Fox News lies to conservatives.

That's it's reason for being.

Any other questions?

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 21, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

of interest:

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/zontv/2010/07/bret_baier_sherrod_naacp_fox_n.html

Posted by: sbj3 | July 21, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3: How does that make FNC a racist organization?

I never said that fox was racist.

I said that fox was first to run the distorted edit of the speech and relentlessly pimped the story, more than any other cable news outlet. That is easily verifiable. And the clear intention of that distorted video was to show a black person discriminating against a white couple, which in fact did not happen.

I personally believe that fox is a partisan organization that uses racial prejudice to whip up anti Obama, anti democrat, sentiment, with this episode as just 1 example.

The NBP non-story that has been endlessly hyped on fox news and opinion shows is another.

"a Fox News on-screen graphic referred to Michelle Obama as "Obama's baby mama"—an attempt to associate the Obamas with racist stereotypes."

Glen "Obama has a deep seated hatred of white people" remains on the network. He has not retracted or apologized for this and other remarks.

Sean Hannity's various innuendo laced tirades about Obama and his supposed racist tendencies.

So Fox is not racist, but it exploits racial prejudice to forward its partisan goals.

Posted by: srw3 | July 21, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"Fox is not racist, but it exploits racial prejudice to forward its partisan goals."

Don't mean to eavesdrop but I think that is exactly correct. Now whether one action is better or worse morally is another question. At least racists are honest.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 21, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/happy_hour_roundup_53.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 21, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

@srw3: I'll agree that FNC exploits racial prejudice ... to boost its ratings! (I don't think they're the only network that does this.) I'd also admit that they pursue the conservative audience - they make no secret of that. I don't believe that is pursuing a partisan agenda - again, it is a pursuit of viewers. (There's no point in addressing Hannity or Beck as they run opinion shows.)

Posted by: sbj3 | July 21, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

"The key moment came when Gibbs was asked by a reporter if the moral of this story is "don't trust the internet."

Which "reporter" asked this?

Posted by: Canonera | July 21, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3: The DoJ firings story would make a nice bookend for the Sherrod story. Both nothing more than manufactured controversies.

Did you miss Monica Goodling's testimony that she "crossed the line" by using ideological tests for career justice appointments?

She testified under immunity, so there could be no prosecution of her, but that doesn't make her actions legal, moral, ethical, or anything but partisan interference in the civil service.

And what was the manufactured part of the Sherrod story? Her statements were purposely edited to distort the message she was presenting.

There are no parallels to the two cases. Monica Goodling admitted to wrongdoing under immunity protection.

Sherrod was viciously defamed by someone purposely editing her statements to make her seem like a racist.

Where are the similarities?

Posted by: srw3 | July 21, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

i certainly don't think everyone at fox is racist, but they work for an organization that engages in racism. and i agree that they do so for partisan political purposes, part of which holds racial politics and racism as an end, not just as a means.

but whether they are racists or engage in racism is pretty much a distinction without a difference.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

@srw: I thought we were speaking about the fired US Attys? Goodling's wrongdoing had to do with DoJ hiring practices not with firing those attorneys.

I call both of these episodes manufactured controversies. There was nothing illegal with Bush's firing of the US attorneys - it is argued that it was improperly political. In the same sense, there was nothing improper with Sherrod's speech. In both cases the "media" got a bunch of people worked up over nothing.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 21, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3: I don't believe that is pursuing a partisan agenda - again, it is a pursuit of viewers. (There's no point in addressing Hannity or Beck as they run opinion shows.)

What planet do you live on? Fox is not pursuing a partisan agenda is only true on bizzaro earth where everything is reversed. Look at their "opinion" lineup:

Mike Huckabee--presidential candidate
Sarah Palin--vice-presidential candidate
Newt Gingrich--former republican congressman--partisan republican
Glen Beck
Sean Hannity

Why is it that the opinion shows are exempt from the fox is a partisan political outlet analysis?

What about their choice of guests? Might that not boost republicans at the expense of democrats?

And that's just for starters...

SBJ3, you are either way way less intelligent than I once thought you were or you are being willfully ignorant about what fox news is all about. Either answer is disappointing...

Posted by: srw3 | July 21, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

sbj not unintelligent but he or she is extremely disingenuous. it's like saying 'i don't know obama is a citizen or not' instead of outright asserting he isn't.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

@srw: So you don't understand why a network would have Republican guests if it was pursuing a conservative audience? And you don't understand why they'd give a show to a folksy nad popular failed presidential candidate with built in audeince. And you can't see any other reason for having Palin other than she is a member of the GOP? You don't think her enormous celebrity would be good for ratings? And you must feel that Stephanopolis was hired merely to pursue a partisan agenda. And Carville was always on CNN just to help the Dem cause? And you are unaware that Newt Gingrich has been a talking head virtually everywhere? And you feel that MSNBC is promoting the GOP agenda because Pat Buchanan is a contributor?

Opinion shows are not news shows. If opinion shows didn't deal with controversial they wouldn't get much in the way of ratings.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 21, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3: In the same sense, there was nothing improper with Sherrod's speech.

No what was improper WAS THE DELIBERATE DISTORTION OF THE SPEECH. Are you really saying that the speech was the issue and not the dishonest editing of the speech? REALLY?

There was no distortion of the facts in the DOJ firing cases. As you admit the firings certainly had the look and feel of partisan politics influencing hiring and firing decisions, but apparently the facts didn't rise to the level of outright criminality, although bush administration officials making misleading statements to investigators should be a civil offense. And of course, we have to take it on faith that Gonzalez really can't remember anything about the time he spent as white house counsel or attorney general, beyond that he worked for bush...How can an attorney function without a working memory?

"Ronald Welch, an assistant attorney general, said in his letter to Conyers that Nora R. Dannehy, an assistant prosecutor from Connecticut who led the investigation, was unable to unearth enough evidence to bring criminal charges in the matter, particularly as it involved the ouster of U.S. Atty. David Iglesias in New Mexico and whether ``misleading statements'' from Gonzales and other top Justice officials were tantamount to perjury. Welch said the investigation did find that Gonzales made a "series of statements"' that were "inaccurate and misleading"' about the firings after they became a political scandal in Washington. He said Kyle Sampson, then a top Justice Dept. official, also made ``various misleading statements.''" ...Welch said the "weight of the evidence established not an attempt to influence but rather an attempt to remove David Iglesias from office, in other words, to eliminate the possibility of any future action or inaction by him."-- la times

As for goodling, you are correct that was the IMPROPER HIRING OF DOJ CAREER EMPLOYEES. I think both cases demonstrate the deliberate politicization of the justice dept.

Posted by: srw3 | July 21, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

so, in sbj's world, fox does not engage in racism and is not pursuing a rightwing republican agenda.

noted.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

@srw: I think we may be speaking somewhat past one another. I never argued that the Bush admin didn't politicize the DoJ.

"No what was improper WAS THE DELIBERATE DISTORTION OF THE SPEECH."

Yes, of course that was improper.

"There was no distortion of the facts in the DOJ firing cases."

No there wasn't.

In both cases the actors were not at fault. In Sherrod's case, she did nothing wrong - only Breitbart. The greatest wrong was done by the media in hyping a non-story. In the case of the DoJ firings nothing illegal occurred. They did nothing "wrong" - political appointees were fired for political reasons - I'm not alarmed! (And please stop conflating Goodling DoJ hiring lapses with the DoJ firings. I do not condone what Monia did.)

In the DoJ firing story the media whipped up the left into a frenzy for no good reason - there was nothing illegal going on.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 21, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

"so, in sbj's world, fox does not engage in racism and is not pursuing a rightwing republican agenda."

Correct!

In my world (and yours), Fox News Channel engages in sensationalism and is pursuing a conservative audience.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 21, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3: So you don't understand why a network would have Republican guests if it was pursuing a conservative audience?

So you don't understand that promoting republican candidates (as guests and hosts) and positions and producing fawning interviews with Angle and Rand Paul among many others, is a partisan activity, along with bringing in "conservative" viewers?

"And you don't understand why they'd give a show to a folksy nad popular failed presidential candidate with built in audience."

And you don't understand that that giving yet another show to a right wing republican politician promotes republican ideology, as well as brings in viewers?

"And you can't see any other reason for having Palin other than she is a member of the GOP? You don't think her enormous celebrity would be good for ratings?"

And you don't think that promoting and providing a platform for Palin's particular brand of folksy right wing nuttiness promotes republican views and candidates (the "mama grizzles")? She is both a celebrity and a partisan. Can't both be true?

And you must feel that Stephanopolis was hired merely to pursue a partisan agenda.

George S. was never an elected official and has been out of government for 10 years.

And Carville was always on CNN just to help the Dem cause?

Carville has never run for political office which does make him like George S. different from palin and huckabee.

And you are unaware that Newt Gingrich has been a talking head virtually everywhere?

Are you aware that Gingrich was not just a guest but an employee of fox?

"Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is a political contributor for the FOX News Channel. In this role, he contributes to the network's election and political coverage and offers analysis on domestic and international news events. Gingrich joined the network in 1999, marking his first television deal since leaving Congress."

And you feel that MSNBC is promoting the GOP agenda because Pat Buchanan is a contributor?

Again, Buchanan does not host his own show, like palin and huckabee and Buchanan has never held elected office.

I just can't believe you want to defend the fox network as not partisan after they say things like this...

"With this particular group of people in power right now, and the honeymoon they've had from other members of the media, does it make it a little bit easier for us to be the voice of opposition on some issues?" Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer similarly acknowledged that Fox News is the "voice of opposition in the media" during the June 17 edition of Special Report with Bret Baier."

I mean it doesn't get more partisan than to call your network "the voice of the opposition" does it?

Posted by: srw3 | July 21, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

sbj,

again, you're clearly being disingenuous. how, exactly, could fox get a rightwing republican audience if it wasn't pursuing a rightwing republican agenda? and the opinion shows and prevalence of rightwing guests is clear and relevant.

but you deny it. fine. it says a lot about stance in general. i'm curious, what's your opinion about obama's citizenship status?

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3:"No what was improper WAS THE DELIBERATE DISTORTION OF THE SPEECH."

Yes, of course that was improper.

"There was no distortion of the facts in the DOJ firing cases."

No there wasn't.

Well this is why the two cases are not similar.

Sherrod's case dealt with deliberate distortion of what she said.

The DOJ firing case was not about distortion of what was said or done, just whether the political firings rose to the level of criminal behavior instead of just ugly, deceitful*, partisan behavior.

* It is deceitful to mislead investigators..."Welch said the investigation did find that Gonzales made a "series of statements"' that were "inaccurate and misleading"' about the firings after they became a political scandal in Washington. He said Kyle Sampson, then a top Justice Dept. official, also made ``various misleading statements.''""

Posted by: srw3 | July 21, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

@In my world (and yours), Fox News Channel engages in sensationalism and is pursuing a conservative audience.

I guess you can't grasp that fox news being the "voice of the opposition", not the voice of conservatism, or the voice of reason, THE VOICE OF THE OPPOSITION TO OBAMA means that fox news is a partisan opponent to the Obama administration. Is there another way to read this?

"With this particular group of people in power right now[that would be obama and the democrats], and the honeymoon they've had from other members of the media[non-existent,BTW], does it make it a little bit easier for us to be the voice of opposition on some issues? "-- Roger Ailes.

What part of voice of the opposition [to the dems, the group of people in power right now] do you not understand?

Do I need to parse each word of this quote for you?

And certainly fox news is pursuing audience share like all other networks. It is just doing this by BEING THE PARTISAN MOUTHPIECE OF THE OPPOSITION as Ailes states. How can this be any more clear?

Posted by: srw3 | July 21, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

greg, i haven't read all the comments, so please forgive me if i repeat what has already been mentioned.

the problem w/gibbs' stance is, the press/media are not the ones who fired sherrod.

the press/media are not the leaders of the country.

the press/media are not necessarily expected, by definition, to approach problem solving in a rational, adult manner (i'll spot you the fact that sure, it would be nice if the press/media did, but it's not in their job description necessarily).

the obama administration turned tail @ the first sign of conservative outrage, and i for one am getting tired of it.

Posted by: skippybkroo | July 21, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

@skippybkroo:the press/media are not necessarily expected, by definition, to approach problem solving in a rational, adult manner

No the press/media are SUPPOSED TO CHECK SOURCES FOR ACCURACY BEFORE REPORTING ON INFLAMMATORY CHARGES FROM A KNOWN LIAR. I am not overjoyed about the obama administrations reactions to this hyped story either, but the responsibility for the fradulent, distorted video is Breibart and fox news (among others) that hyped the story WITHOUT DOING ANY FACT CHECKING OR CONFIRMING THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE VIDEO. The obama administration should be faulted for overreacting to the false story, but the real travesty here is the media's blind acceptance of breibart's deceitful distorted video...

Posted by: srw3 | July 21, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey SBJ3: No comments of fox describing itself as the voice of the opposition? Kinda deflates your "they are just going for audience share" argument, no?

Posted by: srw3 | July 21, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

correction: Fox News vice president for programming Bill Shine saying of Fox News: "There were a couple of people who basically wrote about our demise come last November, December, and were, I guess, rooting for us to go away. ... With this particular group of people in power right now, and the honeymoon they've had from other members of the media, does it make it a little bit easier for us to be the voice of opposition on some issues?

I attributed this quote to Roger Ailes by mistake. my apologies.

Posted by: srw3 | July 21, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

You can substitute this quote from Roger Ailes, srw3:

=>1988 wasn't Ailes' first experience dividing Americans along racial lines. During a taping of the "Man in the Arena" series in 1968, the Nixon campaign stumbled on a problem when a panelist they thought was a physician turned out to be a psychiatrist. Ailes quickly figured out a solution. According to Rick Pearlstein's Nixonland, Ailes would substitute a "good, mean, Wallaceite cab-driver. Wouldn't that be great? Some guy to sit in there and say, 'Awright, Mac, what about these n!ggers?'" Pearlstein added that "Nixon then could abhor the uncivility of the words, while endorsing a 'moderate' version of the opinion."<=

http://tinyurl.com/2ehwax7
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 21, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

@ sbj - "FNC, as an integral part of its business model, will always hype sensational stories. "

What a cowardly cop-out put out by you.

Greg, you did a good and clean coverage of this mess.

I am hoping this will be the turning moment in the US news "industry" since the RW shock jocks appeared on the air and responsible reportage will be back as a "business model" as that cowardly sbj put it.

Posted by: amkeew | July 21, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

sbj wants to wash his hands of the racist and over the top partisan nature of fox news -- and of rightwing republicanism in general? -- so he says he doesn't see it.

though i doubt it, it's possible that he has fooled himself about this. he certainly isn't fooling anyone else.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Irony. Breitbart and FOX News invested many hours and much energy portraying Sherrod as a racist and calling for her immediate dismissal.

White House staffers took heed and, based on the edited video and disingenuous story line submitted by these conservative media entities, Sherrod was forced to resign.

And now these same media outlets condemn the Obama Administration for jumping the gun based on said widely disseminated disinformation.

Essentially, Breitbart and FOX PAC (they don't qualify as a news network) are telling their audiences that people should know better than to trust the veracity of any news story being fervently promoted by ... Breitbart or FOX!

Posted by: labman57 | July 21, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

What clowns these WH guys are turning into.. The reason they took so long to actually admit failure was 1) They had initially acted before even reading the transcript, and 2) They realized they had porked the pony, they had to wait for Rupert to call to give them permission to talk to the other press..

These folks acted like rank amateurs... clown shoes everywhere...

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | July 21, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

What clowns these WH guys are turning into.. The reason they took so long to actually admit failure was 1) They had initially acted before even reading the transcript, and 2) They realized they had porked the pony, they had to wait for Rupert to call to give them permission to talk to the other press..

These folks acted like rank amateurs... clown shoes everywhere...

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | July 21, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Exactly which is the greater evil:

Breibart using edited video designed to take her message of racial tolerance and warp it into a racist aside mercilessly smearing an innocent and fine person.

Faux news who were head and shoulders above the rest of the msm sheep in pouncing on the now totally discredited tape and asking "Is Obama appointing scary black racists to discriminate against whites?"

[UPDATE! Now the fauxies are blaming the obama administration for taking their fradulent reporting seriously enough to act on it. REALLY???

You can't make this stuff up!]

The MSM sheeple who did their best monkey see monkey do imitation and pointed to the video without:

Contacting the speaker and asking about the context of that 2.5 minute remark

Asking why anyone should take video spewed by Breibart seriously after the savaging of ACORN that Breibart orchestrated with heavily edited video, the attempted tampering with the phones in fla also to be recorded and edited into a story, and the general truthiness of most of the post on his site.

Contacting the subjects of the story to find out if they were indeed victims of discrimination by Ms Sherrod.

in other words, the MSM acted as stenographers dancing to the faux news pied piper and not reporters.

The obama administration that over reacted to a relentlessly hyped story and tried to get out in front of the inevitable class 5 hype tornado from farringtwingnutistan, and has since come to its senses and apologized for its thoughtless actions.

I of course vote for Breibart as the worst, but in some ways the MSM, who constantly lecture the DFH's about sourcing and reliable information, are even stupider (if not more evil). I am probably biased, but a mistake and a quick retraction and apology, while nothing to write home about, doesn't seem like the worst infraction of the day.

Which angle will get the most play in tomorrows news cycle? Somehow the media as stenographer thread I think will end up on the editing room floor.

Posted by: srw3 | July 22, 2010 1:22 AM | Report abuse

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