Our Common Good

The week-long average for Maddow in the 25-54 demographic was 378,000, vs. Sean Hannity’s 352,000. O’Donnell bested Greta Van Susteren 359,000 to 245,000.

The Ed Show continues to lag behind his network companions, but perhaps he should be cut some slack because he is also airing opposite the highest rated program on cable news, The O’Reilly Factor. Even so, MSNBC’s primetime lineup managed to beat Fox News outright on two nights (Wednesday and Thursday).

This is pretty good news.  Especially since, with some cable and satellite packages MSNBC does not come with the basic packages like Fox does.  You have to pay extra to get it.

Yes, please.

The post-election soul searching going on inside the Republican Party is taking place inside Fox News as well. Fox News chief Roger Ailes, a canny marketer and protector of his network’s brand, has been taking steps since November to reposition Fox in the post-election media environment, freshening story lines — and in some cases, changing the characters. According to multiple Fox sources, Ailes has issued a new directive to his staff: He wants the faces associated with the election off the air — for now. For Karl Rove and Dick Morris — a pair of pundits perhaps most closely aligned with Fox’s anti-Obama campaign — Ailes’s orders mean new rules. Ailes’s deputy, Fox News programming chief Bill Shine, has sent out orders mandating that producers must get permission before booking  Rove or  Morris. Both pundits made several appearances in the days after the election, but their visibility on the network has dropped markedly. Inside Fox News, Morris’s Romney boosterism and reality-denying predictions became a punch line. At a rehearsal on the Saturday before the election, according to a source, anchor Megyn Kelly chuckled when she relayed to colleagues what someone had told her: “I really like Dick Morris. He’s always wrong but he makes me feel good.”

A Fox spokesperson confirmed the new booking rules for Rove and Morris, and explained that Shine’s message was “the election’s over.” 

Multiple sources say that Ailes was angry at Rove’s election-night tantrum when he disputed the network’s call for Obama. While the moment made for riveting television — it was Ailes’s decision to have Kelly confront the statisticians on air — in the end, it provided another data point for Fox’s critics. A spokesperson for Ailes denied any rift between Ailes and Rove, and said the two plan to meet this week.

JON SCOTT (co-host): Pressure mounting on the Obama administration over its response to the deadly attack on our consulate in Benghazi, as [Fox News correspondent] Catherine Herridge reported just minutes ago. Several top GOP lawmakers are backing off their criticism of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, instead focusing on the White House. Two senators even expressing concerns about a possible White House cover-up. Let’s talk about it with Tom Ricks. He is author of The Generals. He has spent decades covering our military. He joins us now.

Senator John McCain said in the past he would block any attempt to nominate Susan Rice to become U.N. — I’m sorry, secretary of state. She’s currently the U.N. ambassador. He seems to be backing away from that. What do you make of it? 

RICKS: I think that Benghazi generally was hyped, by this network especially, and that now that the campaign is over,  I think he’s backing off a little bit. They’re not going to stop Susan Rice from being secretary of state.

SCOTT: When you have four people dead, including the first dead U.N. ambassador — U.S. ambassador in more than 30 years, how do you call that hype?

RICKS: How many security contractors died in Iraq, do you know?

SCOTT: I don’t. 

RICKS: No. Nobody does, because nobody cared. We know that several hundred died, but there was never an official count done of security contractors dead in Iraq. So when I see this focus on what was essentially a small firefight, I think, number one, I’ve covered a lot of firefights. It’s impossible to figure out what happens in them sometimes. And second, I think that the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of Republican Party.

SCOTT: All right. Tom Ricks, thanks very much for joining us today.

RICKS: You’re welcome.

On Fox, Journalist Tom Ricks Accuses The Network Of Operating As A Wing Of The Republican Party (via Media Matters for America)

The Right Wing Obsession With Benghazi



“Fox News and the radio meat-puppets and the crank blogs are obsessed with Benghazi. It could be bigger than the Fast and the Furious scandal, and by that I mean a thimble full of flyshit no one cares about who’s not on the take.

The Obama haters want revenge for how we said Bush was asleep at the switch for 9/11, so they’re going to prove that Obama either ignored Benghazi, or lied about it afterwards, or possibly ordered it himself.

And that’s why he looked so tired in the first debate. He’d just gotten back from Libya, where he’d been firing mortar rounds at his own men.” - Bill Maher

The Republicans had not a care for a WMD scam [Hans Blix was UN inspector and found no WMD as Bush and Condi Rice were selling a mushroom cloud] or a litany of bogus information presented by Colin Powell [Bush based his war plan off a debunked Iraqi informant called Curveball] that led to a three trillion dollar war and thousands of dead Americans, now need to know all information in real time about Benghazi? Anything short of is a conspiracy of the highest levels?

The GOP are wasting time on so many issues, add this to the list.

The GOP has a boner for scandals and are hoping so desperately for one and won’t leave this alone.

Of course, they’ve always been like this, they will hammer and hammer and hammer and then continue to hammer even when all facts point to the contrary. 

Particularly impressive were the results of the two powerhouse programs on the MSNBC lineup: Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell. Maddow won seven of the eight days against her Fox competition, Sean Hannity. For the 8-day run Maddow beat Hannity by 18% and her 544k average was second to only Bill O’Reilly in all of cable news. O’Donnell won all eight days against Fox’s Greta Van Susteren. His margin of victory over Van Susteren was 17% for the eight days.

This can no longer be considered a temporary blip on the ratings scales. With two weeks having elapsed, the MSNBC programs are showing steady strength against competition that was once thought insurmountable. Only Bill O’Reilly is holding his top position for Fox in primetime. This may indicate that Sean Hannity is wearing thin with viewers who are likely disappointed with his overly confident (and harebrained) assurances that all the polls were wrong and that Mitt Romney would emerge victorious.

The very public argument under way — after all, the players have media platforms that give them a megaphone for their views — has significant implications for the future of the GOP. The right has a deep, diverse, and highly influential bench of opinion makers, and its pundits are moving to expand their influence in a sphere suffering from a lack of political leadership from its elected officials and organizational figures.


New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported that after Fox News initially made the call that President Obama had won Ohio, Karl Rove — a contributor to the network and the head of a pro-Mitt Romney super PAC — fought against the decision, causing “Fox News’ top producers” to call a meeting with Rove and two of the people in charge of making the Ohio call, Arnon Mishkin and Chris Stirewalt.

Ultimately, Fox  decided to have Mishkin and Stirewalt explain their reasoning on-air. But rather than have the duo appear on camera, producers decided to have Fox anchor Megyn Kelly “walk through the office and interview” Mishkin and Stirewalt in a conference room. Sherman reported that an anonymous Fox insider said: “This is Fox News … so anytime there’s a chance to show off Megyn Kelly’s legs they’ll go for it.”

From Sherman’s article:

Shortly after 11 p.m., Bret Baier went on-camera to read a script written by Fox’s Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, based on an analysis by the network’s decision desk, announcing Ohio for Obama. “That’s the presidency, essentially,” Baier said. 

Instantly, Fox phones lit up with angry phone calls and e-mails from the Romney campaign, who believed that the call was premature, since tallies in several Republican-leaning Southern counties hadn’t been been fully tabulated. “The Romney people were totally screaming that we’re totally wrong,” one Fox source said. “To various people, they were saying, ‘your decision team is wrong.’” According to a Fox insider, Rove had been in contact with the Romney people all night. After the Ohio call, Rove — whose super-PAC had spent as much as $300 million on the election, to little avail — took their complaints public, conducting an on-air primer on Ohio’s electoral math in disputing the call.


This time, it was the network divided against itself, and Fox News’ top producers held a meeting to adjudicate. The decision desk stood their ground. They knew how momentous the call was. Earlier in the night, according to a source, before making the call, Arnon Mishkin, who heads the decision desk, told Fox brass, “let’s remember this is Fox News calling Ohio. This will say something beyond Ohio going for Obama.” Fox brass told Mishkin to get the numbers right and ignore the politics: “If we think Ohio has gone Obama, we call Ohio,” said a Fox News executive.

With neither side backing down, senior producers had to find a way to split the difference. One idea was for two members of the decision team, Mishkin and Fox’s digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt, to go on camera with Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier to squelch the doubts over the call. But then it was decided that Kelly would walk through the office and interview the decision team in the conference room. “This is Fox News,” an insider said, “so anytime there’s a chance to show off Megyn Kelly’s legs they’ll go for it.”

Bill O’Reilly: “Obama wins because it’s not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is the minority. People want things.”


“The white establishment is now the minority,” O’Reilly said. “And the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. You are going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?”

“The demographics are changing,” he said. “It’s not a traditional America anymore.”

full story and video

A commentor on The Guardian put this perfectly:

This evening on Fox News, long-time anchor Bill O’Reilly, explaining why Obama was doing better in the voting than he anticipated, unleashed one of the most nakedly racist outbursts heard on national television by a prominent commentator. After first claiming that “50 percent of the people… want stuff” and thus vote for Obama because he gives it to them, O’Reilly added:

“Obama wins because it’s not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is the minority. People want things.”

In other words, now that the majority in America is no longer white, the majority are lazy, dependent and eager for free government handouts. That is the type of commentary one would hear in the swamps of white supremacist websites. Even for Fox News, this is toxic and repellent.

“Well, intimidation is actually [a crime],” Napolitano point out.


Napolitano noted that most states allowed three poll watchers from each party at each polling place, but “the only way there won’t be all this litigation is if one of them wins by substantial numbers in given states.”



Faux News is trying run an election instead of reporting on it.


Faux News is trying run an election instead of reporting on it.


A slew of new reporting this morning debunks Fox News reports claiming that the Obama administration withheld assistance during the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya. With these revelations, the combined conservative narrative as led by Fox News — that the Obama administration failed to respond adequately during the attack and that mainstream media has not covered Benghazi enough — is in further disarray.

The Los Angeles Times’ version of the CIA’s role focuses the most heavily on pushing back on Fox’s spin:

“At every level in the chain of command, from the senior officers in Libya to the most senior officials in Washington, everyone was fully engaged in trying to provide whatever help they could,” a senior intelligence official said in a statement. “There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support.”

Fox reporter Jennifer Griffin claimed in an “exclusive” report last week that the CIA denied Tyrone Woods, one of the four Americans killed in the attack, permission to help repel the assault. Griffin’s reporting spun off into a bevy of conspiracy theories on the far right. The Pentagon, White House, and CIA had all previously denied refusing requests for support. The New York Times reports on the Pentagon’s involvement:

[A] senior official also sought to rebut reports that C.I.A. requests for support from the Pentagon that night had gone unheeded.

In fact, the official said, the military diverted a Predator drone from a reconnaissance mission in Darnah, 90 miles away, in time to oversee the mission’s evacuation. The two commandos, based at the embassy in Tripoli, joined the reinforcements. And a military transport plane flew the wounded Americans and Mr. Stevens’s body out of Libya.

The new reports also contain previously unreported details about the CIA’s role in Benghazi. President Obama and Secretary of Defense Panetta did order U.S. forces into the region, but the CIA was the first to respond to the attack, arriving on the scene in under half an hour.

The lack of security at the outpost in Benghazi, far removed from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, has been the subject of inquiry by both Fox News and Congressional Republicans. The Wall Street Journal sheds new light onto why that was the case. The CIA and State Department had entered into a series of secret deals in which the Agency would provide emergency security to the diplomats operating within Libya.

While the State Department primarily relied upon local Libyan militias for day-to-day protection, as well as contracted British private security, the arrangement between it and the CIA explains why the outpost seemed under-protected. The revelation also will prompt a renewed look at the State Department’s decisions to remove Department of Defense-provided security from the Embassy in Tripoli, which were highly scrutinized during Rep. Darrel Issa’s hearings.

The primary role of the CIA was intelligence gathering and covert operations within Benghazi. Agents there operated out of an annex originally reported to be an offshoot of the diplomatic mission, revealed officially — and accidentally — during Issa’s highly politicized hearing into the Benghazi attacks. The Agency’s large presence may also help explain why the diplomatic compound was open to journalists and looters for weeks after the attack, as more vital intelligence documents were collected.

Washington Post’s David Ignatius has gone as far as to produce a detailed minute-by-minute timeline, of the events that night. These reports together give the clearest picture yet of the events in Benghazi. Rather than the Obama Presidency unraveling as the news organization has claimed, it appears to be Fox News’ narrative that is coming undone instead.

After weeks of hyperventilating spin-coverage of the tragic events in Libya nearly two months ago, Geraldo Rivera on Friday finally had his fill and lashed out at his coworkers’ “misleading” claims, calling the network’s narrative about the attack “misinformation” designed to support an outright “lie.”

“You are misleading the American people because you want to make a political point,” Rivera told fellow Fox News host Eric Bolling. “We have never in the history of the United States of America mounted a raid on the circumstance described here. We have never done it. The Israelis rescued their people in Tevi — seven days to mount that operation. This was seven hours.”


Ever since Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney claimed that President Barack Obama’s first reaction was “to sympathize with those who waged the attacks” — a statement made before it was known that a U.S. ambassador and three others had been killed — Republicans on the conservative network have become insistent that Obama or someone in his administration refused to support the embassy while Obama instead went campaigning in Las Vegas.

Bolling was trying to repeat that claim on Friday, but Rivera just wasn’t having it. “When I heard Charles Woods call the president of the United States a murderer and a liar, it broke my heart,” he said, specifically citing a video that aired on “Hannity” several days ago featuring the father of a Navy SEAL who was killed in the attack.

“How many parents of GI’s lost in conflicts that were screwed up have said of the president of the United States that he murdered my child?” Rivera asked. “I love Charles Woods. I kissed him on television. But he is being led down a primrose path by misinformation that is making it look as if the president of the United States went gambling in Las Vegas when he could have been saving our people in Benghazi, and that is a lie!”

Geraldo demolishes Fox News ‘misinformation’ on Benghazi: ‘That is a lie!’


Desperate New Jersey drivers wait in long lines to buy gasoline. One line was two miles long

The media blame “a lack of electricity” and report that “Governor Christie has acted to boost supplies of gasoline…by directing Treasury officials to waive licensing requirements that affect merchants’ ability to buy fuel from out-of-state suppliers.”

That would help, but Christie would help more if he could suspend New Jersey’s foolish law forbidding price increases of more than 10% during an “emergency,” and if he’d apologize for bragging that the state will crack down on price “gouging!”  

Complaining about greedy profiteers is probably politically smart. But if you’re one of the people the law “protects,” you won’t fare as well.

What politicians call “gouging” is just the free market. When markets are allowed to work their magic, lines disappear.  The high price is a big flag planted in the ground that says, “Hey, come over here and make money.”  

Today, some car owners wait in line just to top off their tanks. If gas stations could raise prices, many of those drivers would wait, and drive less.  Drivers who really need gas would be able to get it.    At the same time, entrepreneurs would rush gasoline to gas stations that have the highest prices.   The lines would quickly vanish, and prices would come back down.

And it goes on like this for some time.

Roger Ailes Offered Bush Administration “Off the Record Help” in Private Note


Fat asshole and Fox News president Roger Ailes just re-upped to run his network through the 2016 election, and he continues to maintain the grotesque fiction that he operates an independent news outlet and not a vital constituency in the Republican coalition. In case there was any doubt left, though—there isn’t, really—here’s a handwritten note he sent to George W. Bush’s secretary of state in 2005 offering “help off the record” any time.

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