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Michael Wolff: How Bill O’Reilly’s Scandal Exposes a Murdoch Family Divide

Fox News’ handling of the renewed harassment allegations is a reflection of greater company conflicts and a generational shift as Rupert hangs on to a bygone era and James and Lachlan plot a risky new course.

Michael Wolff reports: Last July, after Gretchen Carlson sued the Murdoch-controlled 21st Century Fox and Roger Ailes, the then-head of Fox News Channel, for sexual harassment, Rupert Murdoch told his sons, both Ailes enemies, that paying off Carlson without a fight would mean more lawsuits. Easy-money settlements always bring more claims. James and Lachlan Murdoch, however, were eager to get rid of their nemesis, and the most direct way to do that was to accept Carlson’s claims after a quickie investigation and then use a big payoff — $20 million — to end the dispute and calm the storm.

Nine months later, the chickens coming home to roost, Fox has continued to collect a string of look-alike claims against Ailes and against ratings giant Bill O’Reilly, with a firestorm of recent press attention on what The New York Times is calling the “O’Reilly revelations.” What has been revealed is not evidence nor an admission of guilt but details of payments settling complaints against O’Reilly — not a small distinction. You can assume maximal guilt, which the Times and other Fox haters do, or you can assume, as many lawyers do, that when there is money to be had, plaintiffs come out of the woodwork. (“Coming out of the woodwork” is a virtual term of art in big settlement tort cases).

Murdoch Senior is said to be saying, “I told you so.” James, CEO of 21st Century Fox, is blaming it on the Fox News culture and has hired Paul Weiss, the same law firm that performed a two-week investigation of Ailes, to probe O’Reilly (there is, too, a Department of Justice investigation of how settlement payments were made, which Rupert dismisses as DOJ liberal politics and which his sons see as indicating more Fox News dark arts). This is a reflection of greater family and company interests and conflicts. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Krauthammer on How Trump’s Speech Will Be Received Overseas 

Fox News contributor says the president’s address will have foreign leaders ‘quaking in their boots’.

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[VIDEO] Bill O’Reilly Yells at George Will: ‘You are LYING…You’re a HACK!’

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O’Reilly Responds to George Will: He ‘Regurgitates Attacks’ from Reagan Loyalists

“it IS a laudatory book or you CAN’T READ!”

— Bill O’Reilly

“It is doing the work of the left, which knows that in order to discredit conservatism, it must destroy Reagan’s reputation as a president, and your book does the work of the American left with its extreme recklessness…”

— George Will

Bill O’Reilly responded to his Fox News colleague George Will on Thursday night after the syndicated columnist criticized O’Reilly’s book Killing Reagan, calling it a “tissue of unsubstantiated assertions.”

O’Reilly dedicated about a minute of his primetime Fox News show to a response to Will’s column, pointing out first that Will did not correctly distinguish between “slander” and “libel.”

“George Will regurgitates attacks on the book from Reagan loyalists who tried to get Killing Reagan spiked even before it was published, because they wanted a deification of the president, not an honest look at him,” O’Reilly said.

“The book’s perfunctory pieties about Reagan’s greatness are inundated by its flood of regurgitated slanders about his supposed lassitude and manipulability. This book is nonsensical history and execrable citizenship, and should come with a warning: ‘Caution — you are about to enter a no-facts zone.’”

— Will wrote in his column on Thursday

“George Will regurgitates attacks on the book from Reagan loyalists who tried to get Killing Reagan spiked even before it was published, because they wanted a deification of the president, not an honest look at him,” O’Reilly said.

In his column, Will launched a blistering attack on the book, writing that O’Reilly uses little evidence to support many of his claims….(read more)

Source: Mediaite

UPDATE: Josh Feldman writes:

Bill O’Reilly exploded and repeatedly called George Will a “hack” tonight in a fierce battle over whether O’Reilly’s book Killing Reagan is factually accurate.

O’Reilly’s gotten criticism from people close to Reagan over the book, and he fired back by saying they don’t want the truth being told. Will yesterday took things one step further when he tore intoO’Reilly’s book and called it a “no-facts zone.”

Well, responding last night was not enough for O’Reilly, and he invited Will on today. To start, O’Reilly said that Will libeled him and claimed Will was supposed to call him before running the column and didn’t.

Will said he had no such obligation and snarked that it wouldn’t be the first time O’Reilly’s gotten something wrong. When O’Reilly kept on the point, he asked, “Do you want to talk about Bill O’Reilly or Bill O’Reilly’s book?” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Rich Lowry: Fiorina Cut Trump’s ‘Balls Off With the Precision of a Surgeon’

editor-commen-deskI step away from my gluttonous news watching for one day, and look what happens? I caught the tail end of this beautiful carnage on twitter, mid-evening, after Trump’s balls hit the fan. Fortunately, this clip was posted (and is circulating widely, I’m sure) before the ice in Trump’s glass melted and his keyboard’s return key had made it’s final Wednesday-night Twitter-frenzied return. Breitbart‘s Ian Hanchett has the story…

Ian Hatchet reports: National Review Editor and Fox News Contributor Rich Lowry stated that GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina cut other GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “balls off with the precision of a surgeon” on Wednesday’s “Kelly File” on the Fox News Channel.

“…look, Trump obviously attacks everyone, but she’s become a much bigger target. And I think part of what’s going on here, is that last debate…”

Lowry was asked if, as Trump had claimed, people said it was “sexist” to say Fiorina’s business career was a “disaster.”

[Read the full story here, at Breitbart]

He answered, “No, no one disputes that. And, look, Trump obviously attacks everyone, but she’s become a much bigger target. And I think part of what’s going on here, is that last debate. Let’s be honest. Carly cut his balls off with the precision of a surgeon, and he knows it, he knows it. He’s insulted and bullied his way to the top of the polls. No one was able to best him ever, except for this tough lady on that stage, and it must kill him. He must be simmering about it to this night.”

“…let’s be honest. Carly cut his balls off with the precision of a surgeon, and he knows it, he knows it. He’s insulted and bullied his way to the top of the polls. No one was able to best him ever, except for this tough lady on that stage, and it must kill him. He must be simmering about it to this night.”

— Rich Lowry

Host Megyn Kelly reacted by saying, “What did you just say?” And “You can’t say that.” Although, she laughed when her guest, Chris Salcedo, joked that Lowry needs to come out of his shell.

“What did you just say?” …You can’t say that.”

— Megyn Kelly

Lowry added that “all Trump does, more or less, is attack the other [Republican] candidates, and it’s been interpreted as strength and toughness. I think it’s becoming more and more clear that he’s just really thin-skinned, is part of this. And if I were Carly, the advice I would give her, laugh it off, shrug it off, take it very lightly, and stick to your business getting your message out there.”

“I think it’s becoming more and more clear that he’s just really thin-skinned, is part of this. And if I were Carly, the advice I would give her, laugh it off, shrug it off, take it very lightly, and stick to your business getting your message out there.”

— Rich Lowry

He concluded that the dispute between Trump and Fiorina shows that Fiorina is a real contender,continuing, “She is gaining on him, and she’s gaining on him in that outsider lane that we’ve talked about, and she’s gotten under his skin, clearly. Read the rest of this entry »


Did Jon Stewart Really Speak Truth to Power?

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Reminisce with Reason TV the top five ways Jon Stewart was full of shit.

Jon Stewart has been a major cultural and political commentator for the past 16 years. He liked to take down the powerful—at least, when his head wasn’t shoved up Uncle Sam’s ass.

As “The Daily Show” host ends his run, reminisce with Reason TV the top five ways Jon Stewart was full of shit.

Approximately 5 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »


The New Yorker Praises Greg Gutfeld

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For more than eight years, Fox News has been broadcasting a 3 A.M. program called ‘Red Eye,’ an odd and often funny late-night show that is not exactly satire, and not exactly anything else, either. Its sensibility is snarky and surreal, thanks to its host, Greg Gutfeld, a former magazine editor who adopts a tone of half-sarcastic alarm, as if he can’t decide which is more annoying: the politician he is talking about, or the fact that he has to talk about politicians. 

For  an unlikely source of praise for anything on Fox News writes:

Last month, Jon Stewart declared that he would be leaving “The Daily Show,” after sixteen years. One of many writers who paid him tribute was Oliver Morrison, in The Atlantic, who used the opportunity to consider the relationship between comedy and ideology.

“From the beginning, ‘Red Eye’ was cheerfully repetitive, finding humor in a series of running gags. Gutfeld liked to introduce guests with absurd, sexually suggestive hypotheticals that were meant to be flattering. On Greg Proops, the comedian: ‘If hilarity were a telethon, I’d do him in front of a bunch of sick kids’.”

Stewart’s former colleague, Stephen Colbert, once joked that “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” Morrison wondered whether political satire, too, might have a liberal bias. He noted that liberal humor would live on, thanks to programs such as “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” on HBO. But he Greg Gutfeld EXCLUSVIEcouldn’t identify an equivalent tradition on the other side of the political spectrum. “Why,” he asked, “hasn’t a conservative Daily Show found its own place on Fox?”

“Gutfeld probably regretted offending Canadian troops and their family members, but he was probably also pleased that his biggest scandal involved the phrase ‘gorgeous white Capri pants’.”

It wasn’t clear whether Morrison meant to refer to the Fox Broadcasting Company, which isn’t known for politics, or to Fox News, which isn’t known for comedy. (Why couldn’t a conservative comedy show air on Comedy Central, the ostensibly nonpartisan network that broadcasts “The Daily Show”?) But for more than eight years, Fox News has been broadcasting a 3 A.M. program called “Red Eye,” an odd and often funny late-night show that is not exactly satire, and not exactly anything else, either. Its sensibility is snarky and surreal, thanks to its host, Greg Gutfeld, a former magazine editor who adopts a tone of half-sarcastic alarm, as if he can’t decide which is more annoying: the politician he is talking about, or the fact that he has to talk about politicians. It sounds like faint praise to call “Red Eye” the funniest and most tin-gutfeldunpredictable program on cable news, but that’s what it is—or, rather, that’s what it was.

[read the full text here, at The New Yorker]

Last week, Gutfeld announced that he, like Stewart, would be leaving late night—in his case, to develop a new weekend program for Fox News. (“Red Eye” will continue, with a different host.) In his article, Morrison discussed Gutfeld in a dismissive paragraph, judging that his humor was often “hackneyed,” and “far . . . from working in prime time.” In fact, Gutfeld is a familiar presence on the network’s two highest-rated programs: he is a regular member of the panel on “The Five,” an afternoon talk show, and a guest and occasional guest host for Bill O’Reilly, at eight. Somehow, Gutfeld—the proprietor of a program whose continued existence once seemed like both a secret and a mystery—has become one of the most prominent faces on Fox News.

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From the beginning, “Red Eye” was cheerfully repetitive, finding humor in a series of running gags. Gutfeld liked to introduce guests with absurd, sexually suggestive hypotheticals that were meant to be flattering. (On Greg Proops, the comedian: “If hilarity were a telethon, I’d do him in front of a bunch of sick kids.”) For a time, Andy Levy served as the show’s pesky “ombudsman,” delivering persnickety or off-topic corrections during a “halftime report” in the middle of the show. “You said we need to weaponize space,” Levy told Gutfeld, one night, deadpan. “Actually, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 prohibits the U.S. or any other signatory nation from installing any kind of nukes or weapons of mass destruction in space, and limits the use of the moon and other celestial bodies to purely peaceful reasons.”

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The New Yorker‘s descriptive phrase ‘half-sarcastic alarm’ reminds us that besides Andrew Breitbart, Greg Gutfeld has been perhaps the single most inadequately-credited influence on the tone of punditfromanotherplanet, as well as countless other news, and humor new media sites. 

“…Red Eye” was often “nauseating”—not to mention inane, ramshackle, mindlessly sarcastic, sneakily smart, patently absurd, and generally refreshing. But he would be quick to point out that the show never had anything like twenty million viewers…”

Sometimes, Gutfeld tweaked cable-news conventions, as when he purported to address banking reform by convening a sixteen-person panel of experts, including familiar Fox News personalities such as John Bolton, and markedly unfamiliar ones, such as Rosie O’Donnell. As he introduced them, they appeared (or seemed to appear) live, forming a four-by-four matrix of pundit redundancy—by which point it was time, of course, for Gutfeld to thank them all, by name, and then end the segment. Other times, the show came joyfully unmoored from those conventions, as when Levy, throwing the broadcast back to Gutfeld, suddenly began quoting “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”:gutffeld-bump

GUTFELD: Thank you, Andy.

LEVY: Get you gone, you dwarf; you minimus, of hindering knot-grass made; you bead, you acorn. Greg.

GUTFELD: Why rebuke you him that loves you so?

LEVY: I apologize for nothing.

This last line was Levy’s catchphrase, and it also served as a constant reminder of the time, in 2009, when Gutfeld was obliged to apologize to the Canadian military, after a particularly irreverent discussion. The head of the Canadian land forces had said that the Army might need “a short operational break” lasting “at least one year” following its engagement in Afghanistan. Gutfeld had wondered whether this might not be “the perfect time to invade this ridiculous country,” adding, “The Canadian military wants to take a breather, to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white Capri pants.” Gutfeld probably regretted offending Canadian troops and their family members, but he was probably also pleased that his biggest scandal involved the phrase “gorgeous white Capri pants.”

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For all his seeming clumsiness, Gutfeld had a remarkable knack for saying ridiculous things without getting himself fired. (When one guest, a musician, set his electric guitar ablaze, Gutfeld was afraid that he might face punishment; he concluded, when no punishment came, that none of the executives stayed up late enough to watch his show.) On Friday night, during his final broadcast, he revisited some favorite old segments, including an excellent clip of Mick Foley, the former professional wrestler, mistaking Chris Barron, a co-founder of the gay conservative group GOProud, for Chris Barron, the lead singer of the Spin Doctors. (“I looked you up, man,” said Foley, sounding embarrassed but also disappointed—he had prepared a zinger about “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.”) “I dare you to find one boring moment,” Gutfeld said, sounding uncharacteristically earnest. “Excluding this one.” Read the rest of this entry »


Glenn Harlan Reynolds Kicks It Up A Notch: Unpatriotic Voters Elect Unpatriotic Leaders

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Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes: Last week, Rudy Giuliani mused about whether President Obama loves America, musings that produced immediate media backlash as beyond the pale. Some thought this was proof of Republican racism. (Never mind that Obama had accused President Bush of being “unpatriotic” back in 2008). Others gloated that Giuliani had “trolled” the media into spending five days debating Obama’s patriotism.

My own take: Of course Obama loves America. After all, you always hurt the one you love.

But, seriously, why do we care? That is, why do we spend time looking at presidents — and others — based on irrational emotional attachments that are hard to assess, rather than looking at things like credentials that are easy to assess, and arguably more directly related to the job, than things like patriotism, or loyalty, or honesty? Why can’t we just be rational about these things?

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“Of course Obama loves America. After all, you always hurt the one you love.”

Maybe because, as Robert Frank suggested in an underappreciated book some years ago, Passions Within Reason: The Strategic Role Of The Emotions, we don’t want to be totally rational about things because, ironically, it’s not rational to be too rational.

Imagine that you’re thinking of getting married. Would you want a spouse who sticks with you for purely rational reasons, or one who forms an irrational attachment — let’s call it “love” — that doesn’t depend on rational factors? 4831728106_obama_snob_xlarge

Most people would say the latter. A purely rational attachment is nice, but if things change — say, if you become sick, or unattractive, or broke — a rationally attached person might rationally choose to leave. A person who loves you, on the other hand, might stick around anyway, because being parted from you, even if some of your charms have vanished, would cause emotional pain, while helping you feels good.

Likewise, you’d like to hire an honest employee, one who will feel guilty about stealing from you. A rational employee won’t steal if there’s a danger of being caught, but an honest one won’t steal even when he can get away with it, because if he does he will feel guilty, while if he resists temptation he will feel virtuous.

A person who is perfectly rational about costs and benefits, with no irrational constraints like loyalty or honesty (or patriotism), is a person who will lie, cheat and steal whenever he or she can get away with it. A sociopath, basically. Read the rest of this entry »