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Friday, September 10, 2010

9/11; Fox News Thinks You're Idiots; US Soldiers Kill Afghans for Sport; Immigration Lies from the Right; United States of Fear; Quran Burning Racists; MLK and Racist Glenn Beck have NOTHING in Common

- The United States of Fear: Ten Examples Who would have thought that there once was a US president who said “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance…”?
You tell me what happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave since September 11, 2001.

- US Soldiers 'Killed Afghan Civilians for Sport and Collected Fingers as Trophies' Twelve American soldiers face charges over a secret "kill team" that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies.

- Racist Florida Pastor Calls Off Quran Burning Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Fla., called off plans to burn copies of the Quran on Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, he said Thursday.

Jones's decision came after his plans came under heavy criticism from national political and military leaders, who warned that the inflammatory plans would spark violence against U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.

The controversial anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., which has long staged pickets of soldiers' funerals, reportedly has vowed to host its own Quran burning if Jones canceled his.

- This 9/11, Let’s All Take Responsibility for Ending a Summer of Hate ...This summer marks the worst anti-Muslim backlash we’ve ever seen here. As the nine years since 9/11 have passed, Americans have forgotten an essential fact: Extremists can use any religion to justify murder, and the stereotyping of Muslims as terrorists sacrifices both American values and community safety. While we welcome national leaders condemning not just Quran burning, but all the less obvious forms of Islamaphobia along the way, the daily interruption of hatred is a job for all of us.

- Still striving for MLK's dream in the 21st century Martin Luther King III responds to last months Washington DC rally for white people organized by racist Glenn Beck/Fox "News"

- Fear and Loathing in Prime Time Media Matters Action Network undertook this study in order to document the rhetoric surrounding immigration that is heard on cable news. When it comes to this issue, cable news overflows not just with vitriol, but also with a series of myths that feed viewers' resentment and fears, seemingly geared toward creating anti-immigrant hysteria.

- Immigrants Don't Take Jobs From Americans, Fed Study Says  Immigration has no 'significant' effect on the number of jobs available to U.S.-born workers and helps boost incomes and productivity over time, according to a paper by an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

- 5 Myths about Immigration Despite the fact that we are a nation of immigrants -- or perhaps because of it -- immigration continues to be one of America's most contentious topics. The new law in Arizona authorizing police to arrest individuals who cannot show documents proving that they are in the country legally has set off a fresh bout of acrimony. But as in the past, much of the debate is founded on mythology.

- When Sensationalism Rules the News We live in a culture in which propaganda is passed off as news regularly with little sustained contextual confrontation by responsible reporters and news outlets. We live in the land of the argumentative, where nothing sells better on TV than a shouting match that typically signifies next to nothing beyond the sound and fury of its participants.
[NOTE from Sean: this article points out the reality of today's news media, however ignores the fact that all sensationalism is right-leaning. There is virtually NO liberal or left leaning approach to mainstream news coverage (that is to say, FACTUAL news coverage), let alone any left leaning sensationalism. If just the facts were reported on the incredibly dire problems of climate change, or the criminality of our corporate right leaning governments, for example (causes ignored by the Right), these stories would surely be far more attention grabbing than the right-wing lies we see on our cable news programs (like "Obama's a Muslim", the fake controversy over the "ground zero mosque", lies about immigrants, etc). But the 6 Right-leaning media corporations that own all the networks in the USA ignore reality and focus on shallow nonsense that will inspire racists, idiots and other cavemen to pay attention. After all, getting conservatives angry helps the Right-wing achieve their goal of corporate dominance over government and tax cuts for the ultra rich).

- White House Turns Down 'Free Solar Panel' Offer... I just walked out of a disappointing meeting with the White House: they refused to accept the Carter solar panel we came to Washington to deliver and said that they would continue their "deliberative process" to discuss putting solar panels back on the White House roof.

Fox News Thinks You're All Idiots
Published September 10, 2010 at

Though the conservative media are fueled by overhyped, often-false, phony "scandals," every so often a story comes along that is so mind-bogglingly absurd that it exposes in no uncertain fashion the entire conservative media for what it is: a propaganda machine far more interested in pushing pre-determined narratives than conveying accurate information.

For much of the summer, conservatives have been aggressively working to blur the lines between the radicals who attacked us on September 11 and the moderate Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf in order to claim his planned Islamic center in lower Manhattan is some sort of "victory mosque." This week, when conservatives were not busy trying to equate Rauf with lunatic pastor Terry Jones and his plan to burn Qurans, they were suggesting that Rauf literally commands the forces of Al Qaeda.

On Wednesday, Rauf went on CNN's Larry King Live and warned of the dangers of perceived anti-Islam sentiment in the United States, especially as it relates to his Park51 project. Specifically, Rauf said that outspoken opposition to his project creates "danger from the radicals in the Muslim world to our national security." Before we get to the resulting epic conservative freak-out, it's important to point out that Rauf's comments track closely with comments from national security experts -- including Gen. David Petraeus -- who have repeatedly warned of the security implications of anti-Muslim protests.
Undeterred by reality, conservatives claimed Rauf was "threatening" America when he made this entirely non-controversial statement of fact.

Fox Nation broadcast as its top story that "Imam Threatens U.S., Says If Mosque Moves, Terror Will 'Explode.'" Pam Geller -- whose anti-Muslim bigotry leads her to view the world as a Magic Eye book filled with hidden Islamic crescents --announced in a headline that "Ground Zero Supremacist Imam Rauf Threatens America." Jim Hoft claimed in a post about Rauf's "threat" that the "radical" Rauf "warned that if America did not get down on its knees and allow the victory mosque to be built on the bones of dead Americans that ...'They will attack.'" Hoft instructed Rauf to "take your victory mosque and shove it."

Rush LimbaughCharles Krauthammer and Media Research Center's Brent Baker speculated that Rauf may be engaging in "blackmail." Fox News hosted Debra Burlingame to say that Rauf had given an "ultimatum" and that his comments represented a "form of extortion." Fox also gave a 9-11 firefighter a platform to smear Rauf as a "tax-evading, terrorist sympathizing, Armani-wearing slumlord" who is "try[ing] to extort America" and "wants to build a Tower of Triumph on the graveyard of my friends." Bill O'Reilly fearmongered that Rauf's warning about violence may be a "self-fulfilling prophecy."

This morning, the Fox & Friends hosts (and the accompanying on-screen text) referred to Rauf's comments as a "threat" at least ten times. Gretchen Carlson interpreted his "troubling" statement as "If you move it now, we're gonna attack you."

The lone voice of sanity in the conservative wilderness was Chris Wallace, who twice stated that he did not hear Rauf's comments as a "threat." As always, this acknowledgment of reality made him the exception, not the rule.

There is no gray area here: by pushing this story, conservative media figures have revealed -- as they do pretty much every week -- that they are either completely oblivious to reality, or they think their viewers/listeners/readers are. And they do this all the time -- remember the forty-eight hours during the 2008 presidential campaign when conservatives decided to pretend Barack Obama had compared Sarah Palin to a pig when he said "you can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig" to describe McCain's policies? 

When the top-rated cable news organization in the country joins with leading conservative bloggers and radio hosts to smear someone as "threatening" to attack America for stating something that is widely agreed-upon by security experts, their dishonesty should be news. Unfortunately, since media conservatives seem to have a knack for escaping consequences for their serial mendacity, their role in the unwarranted demolition of Rauf's character will likely disappear down the memory hole.

The damage will already be done, and conservatives' perpetual dishonesty machine will roll on.