Random thoughts on the fifth anniversary of his death
Andrew Breitbart died five years ago last week, so I’m thinking it might pay to remind people where the name “Breitbart” hails from: a man who is no longer on this earth, but seems to be felt everywhere.
First, Andrew was one of the deepest, funniest, smartest individuals I’ve ever met — and the world deserves to know him. Most people know of my relationship with A.B. — though I don’t talk about it much, unless I’m asked.
[Order Andrew’s legendary book “Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!” from Amazon.com]
In short, we wrote together, talked daily about everything. We conspired hourly for weeks at a time — from our start at the Huffington Post (yes, kids, he launched that site, and I wrote for it) to the Anthony Weiner episode — almost entirely and accidentally choreographed by Breitbart himself. He graced my show Redeye many times, peppering it with memorably absurd appearances. We always drank and sometimes got into trouble afterward (see the Opie and Anthony appearance after the Anthony Weiner press conference). I edited his pieces sometimes, helped organize his second book and helped when I could on his latest endeavors. This went on for nearly a decade, until his death.
“Andrew died a great man, and his life — and death — spawned a movement. In my humble opinion, you could not have had the election of Donald Trump without the phenomenon that was (and still is) Andrew Breitbart.”
Sadly, I had the honor that no one wants when it comes to a close friend: to speak at the reception following his funeral.
If Breitbart is part of your everyday lexicon, then you should know where the moniker hails from. Andrew Breitbart was a joyful, hilarious man. How many people know that? They must know that.
There is a grim silver lining when you die young. There’s no additional 30 years of assorted career changes, gaps of non-exciting employment and detours into events that muddy early great achievements. If you live
long enough, you become disappointing.
Andrew died a great man, and his life — and death — spawned a movement. In my humble opinion, you could not have had the election of Donald Trump without the phenomenon that was (and still is) Andrew Breitbart.
* * *
Andrew was about waging war with the left by using the left’s tactics. His foot soldiers are everywhere now, and their footprints are all over the faces of the shocked liberals who never saw them coming.
Andrew was inclusive, not solely ideological. He was a party leader who wanted a tent big enough for everyone, not a litmus test for locksteppers. He might have rubbed shoulders with the religious, the vocally right-wing, the hardcore moralistic — but he had no tolerance for those who demonized by lifestyle. Did you know Andrew backed out of CPAC because it initially refused to allow gay groups to speak?
When groups planned to boycott CPAC 2011, Andrew promised to throw a bash for right-wing gays. He wanted to call it the “first annual Roy Cohn CPAC Breitbart Homocon Welcoming ’80s Extravaganza.” Breitbart loved exceedingly long titles. Overdoing it was his way of doing it.
* * *
Andrew once was a liberal, but like all liberals with a brain, he wised up. He was a crappy student (he wasn’t much of a reader, he admitted) who liked to party, and he was a default liberal — simply because it was easy and without risk. But when he saw the Clarence Thomas hearings, he transformed from a goofy, partying liberal into a libertarian/conservative Reaganite. He worked for Matt Drudge and then he gravitated toward Arianna Huffington, working as her researcher before helping launch her celebrity-drenched site. He told me his purpose at HuffPo: By giving a voice to liberal celebrities about political issues, he could show the world how absurd their beliefs really were. Read the rest of this entry »
Oliver Darcy reports: Sebastian Gorka, the Breitbart national security editor and a Fox News contributor, is expected to join President Donald Trump’s White House, a source familiar with the matter told Business Insider.
The source said that the position is likely in the National Security Council. A Fox News spokesperson said the network terminated Gorka’s contributor agreement when he informed executives of his new position.
Gorka, who has written stories for Breitbart since early 2014, was a founding member of the Council for Emerging National Security Affairs and has been awarded the Joint Civilian Service Commendation, according to a bio on his website. (He recently made his website private.) The national-security analyst is the author of “Defeating Jihad,” a New York Times best-seller.
[Check out Sebastian Gorka’s book “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War” at Amazon.com]
He was also the vice president for counterterrorism and irregular warfare at the Threat Knowledge Group, and he said in a July Breitbart story that he had written policy papers for Trump. He was paid by the campaign for policy consulting, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Read the rest of this entry »
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)
This is some fantastic TV. I don’t care which side of the argument you come down on. https://t.co/et8K1atCAF
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) November 7, 2015
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 »
Chris Stirewalt and Howard Kurtz break down the CNBC GOP debate on ‘The Kelly File’Watch Chris Stirewalt, Howard Kurtz, and Megyn Kelly talk about Elections, Presidential Primaries, and Republicans on Mediabuzz and The Kelly File.
I 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.”
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 »
…Kelly began a 10-day vacation after her Wednesday night broadcast. Fox says the vacation was planned well ahead of time. But some bloggers and commentators have circulated theories that Kelly was sidelined as a result of the Trump dispute.
“The conspiracy theories about Megyn Kelly‘s vacation rank up there with UFO’s, the moon landing and Elvis being alive. Megyn is on a pre-planned, annual summer vacation with her family, which is much deserved. To imply otherwise as Donald Trump and his campaign operatives have is not only wildly irresponsible, but downright bizarre.”
In an interview with Newsmax TV on Friday, Trump indicated that he was inclined to believe the theories.
“There probably was” a connection, he said. “But I wouldn’t know about it.”
He added that “people were very very surprised that all of a sudden she decided to go away for 10 or 11 or 12 days.”
Fox News responded with a sharply worded statement on Friday night.
“Perhaps Mr. Trump thinks it’s advantageous to his poll numbers to keep talking about Megyn, but that doesn’t change the fact that Roger Ailes has fully supported her and her tough journalistic questioning since day one and is thrilled with the added exposure from the debate, which resulted in even higher ratings of ‘The Kelly File’ this week.”
“The conspiracy theories about Megyn Kelly‘s vacation rank up there with UFO’s, the moon landing and Elvis being alive,” a network spokeswoman said. “Megyn is on a pre-planned, annual summer vacation with her family, which is much deserved. To imply otherwise as Donald Trump and his campaign operatives have is not only wildly irresponsible, but downright bizarre.”
The spokeswoman added, “Perhaps Mr. Trump thinks it’s advantageous to his poll numbers to keep talking about Megyn, but that doesn’t change the fact that Roger Ailes has fully supported her and her tough journalistic questioning since day one and is thrilled with the added exposure from the debate, which resulted in even higher ratings of ‘The Kelly File’ this week.”
Kelly talked on Wednesday’s program about how she hasn’t had a real vacation for six months. She’ll be back on August 24.
Speaking with Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg on Friday, Trump said that Ailes “couldn’t have been nicer” when the two men spoke by phone on Monday.
Fox’s Roger Ailes: Jon Stewart’s Sugar Daddy Comedy Supplier Sends the Departing Host Home with a Taste of His Own MedicinePosted: August 6, 2015
Roger Ailes: a smile and a knife in the ribs
“He’s been after us for years. Occasionally we pay attention. We think he’s funny. We never took it seriously and he never made a dent in us.”
Paul Bond writes: As Jon Stewart‘s final Daily Show approaches, the comedian has mercilessly mocked Fox News Channel, even comparing Roger Ailes to Death. It’s almost like he’s daring the network’s chairman and CEO to respond. Now, he has.
“He’s a brilliant comedian. He’s actually a very nice guy, and I saw him with his kids on the street. He’s a good father. He has a bitter view of the world and you see it embodied in how he’s reacting to Fox News, equating it with death.”
“He’s been after us for years. Occasionally we pay attention. We think he’s funny. We never took it seriously and he never made a dent in us,” Ailes told The Hollywood Reporter after being contacted on Wednesday.
“He’s feeling unrewarded because Fox News beats him on the amount of money we make, on ratings and on popularity. I’m sure it’s very depressing when he sits home at night and worries about it. We never did.”
The Fox News chief added: “As he faces the end of his career, he’s beginning to wonder: ‘Is this as popular as I’m ever going to get? Is this as much power as I’ll ever have? The one person I could never get rid of was Roger Ailes. I tried. I did everything I could.’ This was all a plea to his lefty friends. I think he’s disappointed that he didn’t accomplish that goal, and we, of course, supplied him with half of his comedy. It’s just a matter of disappointment.”
“As he faces the end of his career, he’s beginning to wonder: ‘Is this as popular as I’m ever going to get? Is this as much power as I’ll ever have? The one person I could never get rid of was Roger Ailes. I tried. I did everything I could.’ This was all a plea to his lefty friends. I think he’s disappointed that he didn’t accomplish that goal, and we, of course, supplied him with half of his comedy. It’s just a matter of disappointment.”
During his show last week, Jon Stewart showed a clip of the Ingmar Bergman movie, The Seventh Seal, only he substituted Ailes for the Death character. Ailes told THR he hadn’t seen the segment, but he isn’t surprised at the vitriol aimed at him.
“You can’t say that many negative things about people unless you’re really unhappy about something. actually think he doesn’t dislike me. We met once or twice. I talked to him for an hour once in my office. I think he’s really smart and he’s got a great future.”
“He’s feeling unrewarded because Fox News beats him on the amount of money we make, on ratings and on popularity. I’m sure it’s very depressing when he sits home at night and worries about it. We never did,” Ailes said. Read the rest of this entry »
At first blush, it’s strange to think of Murdoch — who was 56 years old when the Fox network made its primetime debut in 1987 — as some sort of renegade. As the head of a major media conglomerate, he’s been a firmly entrenched part of the establishment.
Through the series of deals on which he built Fox, however, as well as the expansion of the studio, Murdoch has seldom been bound by convention. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Krauthammer Blasts ‘Greek God’ Obama For Attacking Fox Over Poverty: ‘He’s Letting Us Know His Arrogance Has No Limits’Posted: May 14, 2015
On Wednesday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC’s Charles Krauthammer slammed President Obama for attacking Fox News’ at an event on poverty at Georgetown University.
Laura Bradley writes: To celebrate the 40th anniversary of campy cult phenomenon The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Fox is remaking the film as a two-hour TV adaptation. It’s in the process of being cast, and Kenneth Ortega (High School Musical, Gilmore Girls, Hocus Pocus) will direct, executive-produce, and choreograph, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“The special will be filmed in advance and not air live, but few details beyond that are known,” The Hollywood Reporter writes. “In addition to Ortega, Gail Berman and Lou Adler, who produced the original film, are also attached as executive producers.”
“The special will be filmed in advance and not air live, but few details beyond that are known. In addition to Ortega, Gail Berman and Lou Adler, who produced the original film, are also attached as executive producers.”
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.
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 couldn’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 unpredictable program on cable news, but that’s what it is—or, rather, that’s what it was.
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.
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.”
“…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”:
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.”
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 »
New York Times Magazine forced to admit that Megyn Kelly might be great at her job
This piece from New York Times Magazine wouldn’t be all that remarkable were it not for who was writing it and who the subject was. It’s a rather rare moment when anyone from the elite enclaves of their Manhattan offices comes down to Earth and actually has something nice to say about any of the Fox News crew, and it’s a surprisingly candid and positive piece about evening desk host Megyn Kelly. But even for the honest appraisal, the author can’t seem to help acting surprised that Kelly actually takes people to task from both sides of the aisle in what he calls a “Megyn Moment.”
For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, a Megyn moment, as I have taken to calling it, is when you, a Fox guest — maybe a regular guest or even an official contributor — are pursuing a line of argument that seems perfectly congruent with the Fox worldview, only to have Kelly seize on some part of it and call it out as nonsense, maybe even turn it back on you. You don’t always know when, how or even if the Megyn moment will happen; Kelly’s political sensibility and choice of subjects are generally in keeping with that of the network at large.
But you always have to be ready for it, no matter who you are. Neither Karl Rove nor Dick Cheney have been spared their Megyn moments, nor will the growing field of 2016 presidential aspirants, who can look forward to two years of interrogation on “The Kelly File.” The Megyn moment has upended the popular notion of how a Fox News star is supposed to behave, and led to the spectacle of a Fox anchor winning praise from the very elites whose disdain Fox has always welcomed. In the process, Kelly’s program has not just given America’s top-rated news channel its biggest new hit in 13 years; it has demonstrated an appeal to the younger and (slightly) more ideologically diverse demographic Fox needs as it seeks to claim even more territory on the American journo-political landscape.
After mocking Fox & Friends earlier this week for their coverage of France’s supposed “no-go” Muslim zones, French TV show Le Petit Journal has launched an email campaign urging its viewers to demand an apology from Fox News’ Executive Vice President of News Michael Clemente…(read more)
The show promoted the campaign, along with Clemente’s email address on Twitter Friday:
A Practical Definition of “No-Go”
Certainly there are areas of France where crime and violence is rampant, that travelers and non-residents may avoid, and where police may intercede in only with caution and difficulty — some of which are home to significant Muslim populations — but as others have noted:
It’s an exercise in confirmation bias on the Left
I think most observers would agree that over the past 20 years or so, we’ve been witnessing a paradox when it comes to free speech. On the one hand, it’s easier than ever before to express oneself, especially in a public way (thank you, internet).
[Read the full text at Reason.com]
On the other hand there is a huge attack on all sorts of speech that can in any way, shape, or form be deemed offensive. From trigger warnings to microaggressions and everything in between, all speech is suspect these days.
In popular culture, there are outliers such as South Park, Family Guy, and Tosh.O, where the envelope of taste and propriety is not so much pushed as shredded completely. Just in terms of comedy, does anyone think Inside Amy Schumer or Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s “Beloved Aunt” episode would have seen the light of day when Janet Reno, the Clinton administration, and all of Congress was voting overwhelmingly for the Communications Decency Act?
That terrible law would have regulated the emergent web like a broadcast network in the name of protecting kids from sexual material. It only was gutted after the Supreme Court struck it down in 1997. Christ, back in the 1990s, Bill Bennett and Joe Lieberman were giving our “Silver Sewer Awards” to Rupert Murdoch and the Fox Network for airing Married…With Childrenand The Simpsons, and The Weekly Standard was making “The Case for Censorship“!
Which makes it more important not simply to show solidarity with the dead and wounded in France but to rehearse the arguments for unfettered trade in ideas and speech. A good place to start is the reissue of Jonathan Rauch’s more-important-than-ever book Kindly Inquisitors. Originally released in 1994, the Cato Institute republished as 20th anniversary edition and Reason.com published a new foreword by Rauch.
And yet for all our expressive freedom, there’s a huge pushback against speaking freely, especially on college campuses and in many news platforms. Chris Rock doesn’t play colleges anymore because audiences are buzzkills:
I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they’re way too conservative…. Not in their political views — not like they’re voting Republican — but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody. Kids raised on a culture of “We’re not going to keep score in the game because we don’t want anybody to lose.” Or just ignoring race to a fault. You can’t say “the black kid over there.” No, it’s “the guy with the red shoes.” You can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive.
You.GovAs unimpeachable a progressive satirist as Stephen Colbert was targeted with a #CancelColbert campaign while mocking Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s devotion to his team’s nickname and mascot image. Lefty comic and actor Patton Oswalt no longer reads Salon because
…they write articles “Did The Onion Go Too Far?” or “ Is Patton Oswalt Supporting Rape? ” They already know the answer, but they know by feigning ignorance they can create all this debate about it. It upsets me because I used to really, and still do sometimes, love the articles Salon writes. They used to have Heather Havrilesky and Glenn Greenwald, and now they have become Fox News with all this look-y look-y shit. It hurts progressives. It’s very personal but the fact is that that they want comedians to think twice, three times, four times about any kind of comedy.
A YouGov poll taken just last fall found that equal amounts of Americans support and oppose “hate speech laws,” defined as laws that would “make it a crime for people to make comments that advocate genocide or hatred against an identifiable group based on such things as their race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.”
[Order Jonathan Rauch‘s more-important-than-ever book “Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought“, Expanded Edition]
Thirty-six percent said sure and 38 percent said no way. That’s disturbing enough on its own, but here’s something even more unsettling: Fully 51 percent of self-identified Democrats supported hate-speech laws.
That’s not good. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Imagine if they were Patriots Fans: Ferguson Protesters Punch, Spit On Rams Fans After Parading Upside-Down American FlagPosted: October 20, 2014
Fans leaving an NFL Rams game in St. Louis on Sunday were attacked by Ferguson protesters parading an upside-down American flag outside of the Edward Jones Dome. The fans were punched and spit on after some of them objected to a display they found offensive.
Local Fox affiliate KTVI caught video of a female protester spitting in the face of a fan. Another woman punched a fan in the face, carrying an upside-down American flag in her other hand. Both women were quickly arrested. Read the rest of this entry »
NBC News and sister cable network MSNBC rank at the bottom of media outlets Americans trust most for news, with Fox News leading the way, according to a new poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.
In its fifth trust poll, 35 percent said they trusted Fox news more than any other outlet, followed by PBS at 14 percent, ABC at 11 percent, CNN at 10 percent, CBS at 9 percent, 6 percent for MSNBC and Comedy Central, and just 3 percent for NBC.
The pollster said Fox won because Republicans are devoted to it. “It leads the way because of its continuing near total support among Republicans as the place to go for news- 69 percent of Republicans say it’s their most trusted source with nothing else polling above 7 percent,” said PPP.
Fox News executive vice president of corporate communications Brian Lewis was fired and thrown out of the building two weeks ago after an internal investigation found that he had breached his contract with regard to “issues relating to financial irregularities,” according to the network. Lewis was widely perceived to be the top aide to Fox News president Roger Ailes, and was reportedly working on his separation agreement as of Tuesday.
A company spokesperson stated, “After an extensive internal investigation of Brian Lewis’ conduct by Fox News, it was determined that he should be terminated for cause, specifically for issues relating to financial irregularities, as well as for multiple, material and significant breaches of his employment contract. He was terminated for cause on July 25.”
Lewis joined the company at its inception 17 years ago, and rose to his current position for Fox News, Fox Business Network, Fox Television Stations and 20th Television.
Considering their previous lows, both CNN and HLN enjoyed respectable viewer gains in the month of July, but the latest ratings that look at a full week of post-Zimmerman trial viewership shows that both networks might be falling back to earth. TV Newser reports that last week, CNN saw its viewership plummet -32%. HLN fared even worse with a -50% drop-off.
Fox News, however, continues to dominate its cable news competition. In all of cable, Fox beat CNN and MSNBC combined during primetime and ranked 4th in total primetime viewers, behind only the USA Network, TNT, and the History Channel.
In total day viewers, Fox News ranked 5th in all of cable.
TV Newser reports that “CNN placed 36th in primetime and 31st in total day, while MSNBC placed 32nd in both categories.”
HLN did not rank in the top 40.
Both CNN and HLN had obviously hoped to hold on to the viewers gained during the Zimmerman trial, but during their coverage both networks likely turned off viewers. On her primetime show, Nancy Grace, the face and star of HLN, demeaned the Hispanic Zimmerman with a racial attack.