U.S. Politics

Fox News’ Presidential Debate Moderator Says He’ll Let Candidates Lie

Trump shakes hands with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who will moderate the third presidential debate. | Screen Cap – Fox News Channel


For the first time, Fox News has been selected to moderate a presidential debate. The Presidential Debate Commission selected Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, to moderate the third presidential debate, scheduled for October 19 in Las Vegas.

Wallace appeared on Fox News’ Media Buzz to discuss what his selection meant to him personally and “what it means to Fox News.”

The host of the program, Howard Kurtz, asked Wallace, “What do you do if they make assertions that you know to be untrue?”

“That’s not my job,” Wallace replied, without skipping a beat. “It’s not my job to be a truth squad.”


A moderator who lets the candidates lie with impunity could be an advantage for Donald Trump, based on his Politifact scorecard. (Here is Hillary Clinton’sscorecard, for comparison.)

Trump rose to political prominence making false claims about Barack Obama’s birth certificate. He has recently been consulting with one of the nation’s most notorious conspiracy theorists.

Wallace is has close personal and professional ties to Roger Ailes, who was his boss until a few weeks ago and is now reportedly helping Trump prepare for the debate.

When Ailes was forced out of his position due to a string of credible sexual harassment allegations, Wallace showered him with praise.

Wallace said that he was “very proud to be a representative of Fox” in his role as debate moderator. He agreed with Kurtz that his selection dispelled the notion that Fox was a “right-wing network” that “favors Republicans.”

According to Wallace, his selection means the debate commission looked at Fox News’ body of work and decided it really was “fair and balanced.”

Judd Legum

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

U.S. Politics

Roger Ailes and Fox News: a comprehensive guide to the ongoing sexual harassment scandal

Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

This article is quite long…(ks)

VOX Culture 

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes resigned late last month after being accused of sexual harassment by former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson, who filed a lawsuit against him, and Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, who told attorneys investigating Carlson’s claims that Ailes had also made unwanted sexual advances toward her about 10 years ago.

These details alone would have been explosive enough: Not one but two well-known female news anchors saying they were sexually harassed by Ailes, the 76-year-old media giant who made Fox News what it is today — and Ailes getting booted from his own network as a result. (Ailes continues to deny all of the allegations against him, and Rupert Murdoch, who co-founded Fox News with Ailes, only had kind words to say about Ailes when announcing his resignation.)

But the story hasn’t stopped there, and at this rate it seems unlikely to stop anytime soon. At least 20 other women have come forward to say Ailes sexually harassed them — or worse — and the allegations span decades, as reporting from Gabriel Sherman at New York magazine has revealed.

Some of these incidents may have even been caught on tape, Vanity Fair reportedMonday.

What’s more, it’s possible that other top-level Fox executives helped cover up Ailes’s misdeeds. And Ailes reportedly used Fox’s budget to quietly settle harassment claims,hide his indiscretions, and spy on his enemies — including reporters like Sherman, whose 2014 biography of Ailes also outlined his creepy behavior toward women.

This is a story of an entire news network, not just one man, that seems to have enabled harassment as part of a toxic work culture.

Yet now, finally, that culture is being exposed and starting to crumble — an example of how far we’ve come as a society in dealing with sexual harassment and assault, and how far we still have to go.

After Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes for sexual harassment, it opened the floodgates for other women to come forward

Until June 23 of this year, Carlson was simply a well-known Fox news personality. She co-hosted Fox & Friends with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade from 2005 to 2013 before hosting her own show, The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson.

But according to Carlson, both her 2016 firing and her 2013 departure from Fox and Friends could be explained by a longstanding pattern of sexual harassment and professional retaliation against her from Roger Ailes.

On July 6, Carlson filed a complaint against Ailes that alleged years of inappropriate sexual advances, comments, and retaliation, including:

  • Ailes saying, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,” when Carlson met with him last September to complain about ongoing discrimination and retaliation against her.
  • Ailes “ogling” Carlson; asking her to turn around “so he could view her posterior”; urging her to wear certain outfits every day because they compliment her figure; saying Carlson was “sexy, but too much hard work”; and telling her to stop worrying about being treated equally and getting “offended so God damn easy about everything.”
  • Ailes retaliating against Carlson by cutting her pay “to a level that was disproportionate to that of similarly situated male employees and others who had not complained about discrimination and harassment”; giving her fewer hard-hitting interviews and shifting her to less desirable time slots; firing her from Fox & Friends in 2013 and failing to properly promote her new show; and cutting back on her appearances as a guest commentator and substitute host.

Ailes has vigorously denied all of these allegations in statements and through spokespeople, calling them “false” and “retaliatory” — basically claiming that Carlson filed the suit out of revenge for being fired.

Since news of Carlson’s lawsuit broke, several anonymous former Fox employees have spoken to news outlets like the Daily Beast and the Huffington Post — and at least 20 women have contacted Carlson’s attorneys with similar stories.

Sherman got six of those 20-plus women to speak on the record, and two agreed to use their real names. They say that Ailes made inappropriate comments, asked them to pose for him, made explicit quid pro quo propositions, and sabotaged their careers if they refused his advances.

“You know if you want to play with the big boys, you have to lay with the big boys,” Ailes allegedly told Kellie Boyle, who said Ailes used his influence to keep her from getting a job with the Republican National Committee in 1989 after she declined to accept his sexual proposition.

Former model Marsha Callahan said Ailes made her lift up her skirt and strike suggestive poses during an interview for The Mike Douglas Show in the late 1960s. Callahan said Ailes abruptly ended the interview after she balked at his demands to sleep with him if she wanted the job.

One anonymous woman said she was just 16 when Ailes exposed himself to her during a 1967 audition for The Mike Douglas Show. “I was a kid — I’d never seen a man’s privates before,” she said.

Megyn Kelly came forward with her own story after Fox News’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, hired the law firm Paul, Weiss to conduct an internal investigation into Ailes’s conduct.

Kelly’s allegations appear to have been the last straw that forced Ailes out: Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, the top three executives at 21st Century Fox, reportedly think Kelly is the future of the network and is too valuable to lose.

It’s also likely that more women want to come forward but face legal restrictions in doing so. Brian Stelter of CNN Money heard from several women who had on-air jobs at Fox and have Ailes stories of their own, but who are reluctant to come forward because of unusually restrictive language in the nondisparagement clauses they signed when they left Fox.

One woman said Ailes sexually harassed and “psychologically tortured” her for 20 years

Perhaps the most chilling story to come out in the wake of Carlson’s allegations is that of Laurie Luhn, who let Sherman publish her story even though she was forbidden from talking to the media as part of a $3.15 million settlement with Fox. So far, though, Fox hasn’t come after Luhn for violating her nondisclosure agreement.

Unlike many other women who tell stories of being propositioned by Ailes, Luhn says she went along with his demands. She accepted a $500 per month retainer to do “research,” including filing Freedom of Information Act requests on Ailes’s competitors Charlie Black, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone.

As part of her agreement, Luhn said she also had to be available when Ailes wanted to meet her. Those meetings often took place in a hotel and involved sexual domination, as Sherman describes:

Luhn put on the black garter and stockings she said Ailes had instructed her to buy; he called it her uniform. Ailes sat on a couch. “Go over there. Dance for me,” she recalled him saying. She hesitated. “Laurie, if you’re gonna be my girl, my eyes and ears, if you are going to be someone I can depend on in Washington, my spy, come on, dance for me,” he said, according to her account. When she started dancing, Ailes got out a video camera. Luhn didn’t want to be filmed, she said, but Ailes was insistent: “I am gonna need you to do better than that.”

When she had finished dancing, Ailes told her to get down on her knees in front of him, she said, and put his hands on her temples. As she recalled, he began speaking to her slowly and authoritatively, as if he were some kind of Svengali: “Tell me you will do what I tell you to do, when I tell you to do it. At any time, at any place when I call. No matter where I call you, no matter where you are. Do you understand? You will follow orders. If I tell you to put on your uniform, what are you gonna do, Laurie? WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO, LAURIE?” Then, she recalled, his voice dropped to a whisper: “What are you, Laurie? Are you Roger’s whore? Are you Roger’s spy? Come over here.” Ailes asked her to perform oral sex, she said.

Later, Ailes showed her the footage of her dancing. She asked him what he intended to do with it and, she says, he replied, “I am going to put it in a safe-deposit box just so we understand each other.”

On three occasions, Luhn said Ailes demanded that she perform sadomasochistic sex acts on another woman while he watched.

Ailes also promoted Luhn to director of bookings, which gave her the authority to hire employees — and then allegedly asked her to recruit women for him:

“You’re going to find me ‘Roger’s Angels.’ You’re going to find me whores,” Luhn recalled Ailes saying on numerous occasions, urging her to send young Fox staffers his way. … Luhn denied ever setting Ailes up with her staff for explicitly sexual purposes, but she did send them in for private meetings with him where she knew they could be exposed to sexual harassment.

Luhn says the ordeal gave her a nervous breakdown and made her attempt suicide.

Other Fox executives may have helped Ailes keep things under wraps

Sherman’s reporting casts a suspicious light on at least two other high-level Fox executives — Bill Shine, senior executive vice president of programming, and Dianne Brandi, Fox News’s executive vice president of legal and business affairs.

Luhn told Sherman that Shine set up the “booking meetings” that were really hotel liaisons with Ailes, and that Shine at one point reviewed Luhn’s emails to make sure she wasn’t telling anyone about her relationship with Ailes. Fox executives like Shine were “in charge of my life,” Luhn said. (Shine confirmed to Sherman through a spokesperson that he called Luhn to New York for booking meetings, and denied Luhn’s stories about the emails.) Luhn’s father also says that Shine called him multiple times looking for Luhn after her nervous breakdown.

Brandi signed the $3.15 million settlement and nondisclosure agreement with Luhn on June 15, 2011. Luhn says that after she wrote Ailes a personal letter about her struggles, Brandi called her asking: “Are you trying to do something to Roger? What is this?”

Fox host Andrea Tantaros has also come forward claiming that Ailes sexually harassed her — making comments about her body, asking her to do “the twirl” so he could see her figure — and that Fox executives knew about it but did nothing. Tantaros told Shermanthat she complained about Ailes harassing her to Shine, Brandi, and senior vice-president Suzanne Scott, and that Tantaros was demoted and taken off the air as a result.

“Roger is a very powerful man,” Shine allegedly told Tantaros, adding that she “should not fight this.”

Fox attorneys disputed Tantaros’s account, telling Sherman that Tantaros was suspended with pay because she violated company policy by not letting Fox vet a book she wrote.

Sherman’s reporting also raises the question of how much Fox executives knew about the questionable things Ailes spent Fox money on — like PR and surveillance campaigns against his enemies, including journalists who reported on him unfavorably. Ailes reportedly hired multiple consultants, political operatives, and private detectives who only answered to him, and who worked out of the so-called “Black Room” on the 14th floor of the News Corp building.

Fox’s alleged harassment problem went far beyond Ailes

Andrea Tantaros didn’t just accuse Ailes of harassment; she also named four male Fox News personalities (two on-air contributors, a correspondent, and a host) who she said behaved inappropriately toward her. She says Fox didn’t properly investigate those claims either, and Fox executives and sources gave conflicting accounts to BuzzFeed about whether such an investigation ever happened.

In addition to claiming that Ailes harassed her, Gretchen Carlson also said Ailes retaliated against her for complaining about harassment from her former Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy. Carlson’s lawsuit didn’t name Doocy as a defendant, but it alleged that Doocy engaged in harassing behavior, “including, but not limited to, mocking her during commercial breaks, shunning her off air, refusing to engage with her on air, belittling her contributions to the show, and generally attempting to put her in her place by refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful female journalist rather than just a blond prop.”

Former Fox News reporter Rudi Bakhtiar said she was fired after complaining about harassment both from Ailes and from former Fox News Washington bureau chief Brian Wilson. Bakhtiar also says Ailes’s attorney, Barry Asen, intimidated her for talking to Sherman about her harassment. She was paid an undisclosed settlement after a mediation process.

In story after story, from women who have given their names and from women who are too afraid to do so, a similar picture emerges. They say that not only was Roger Ailes a serial harasser of women, others around him also enabled him, and he set the tone for a toxic culture at Fox News wherein women were consistently mistreated, often by more than one perpetrator.

All of this could mean a major shift at Fox News, in more ways than one

The ouster of Ailes could have huge implications for the future of conservative media and even American conservatism. Fox News has a strong cultural influence on the right, and Ailes, 76, is largely responsible for that.

Murdoch’s sons, Lachlan and James, are poised to take control of the network from their father with Ailes’s ousting. As David Folkenflik reported for NPR, Fox News has become “an Ailesian alchemy of conservative ideology, fast-paced reporting, highly sexed and confrontational presentation of debate, patriotic fervor and grievance.” But, Folkenflik noted, that model could change depending on how much Murdoch’s sons, who have “little affection” for Ailes, decide to shift the direction of the network to reflect “more 21st century values” now that Ailes is out of the picture.

The New York Times reports that Ailes will receive about $40 million as part of a settlement agreement — basically the salary he would have made through the end of his contract in 2018. Ailes won’t be allowed to start a Fox competitor and won’t be directly involved with Fox or Fox News anymore. He will, however, act as an adviser to Murdoch on an interim basis.

Fox is arguably letting Ailes off easy, although the full consequences of the investigations and lawsuits are yet to be seen.

Still, many observers argue that Ailes would have never been forced to step down at all if it weren’t for the influence of Murdoch’s sons. Just look at how much more quietly the network has dealt with previous harassment complaints against figures like Bill O’Reilly, and without major professional repercussions for the men accused.

Perhaps the Murdochs had no choice but to oust Ailes given how high-profile the claims against him are, and perhaps they have a self-interested reason to do so — they’ve reportedly had long-running disagreements with Ailes and have been looking for an excuse to get rid of him.

Still, it’s hard to shake the sense that something has changed, and is changing — and not just at Fox.

Powerful men often get away with routine harassment or assault, but the tide is slowly shifting toward believing victims

Veteran TV producer Shelley Ross, who was also once propositioned by Ailes, points out that sexual harassment is rampant everywhere — especially in media, and not just at Fox.

“You can’t just have one villain, not even Roger Ailes,” Ross wrote at the Daily Beast. “For 30 years I have witnessed a pervasive culture populated by more than a few morally repugnant executives and those who kept their jobs by not making waves around them.”

It’s no wonder the Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove speculates on whether Ailes could become the next Bill Cosby — a powerhouse media figure who has allegedly harassed or abused women for years, yet managed to escape public punishment for it until he was well into his 70s, when one public allegation led to another, and another, and another.

What’s more, the allegations against both Ailes and Cosby were an open secret years before they actually caused controversy. Ailes wasn’t known for being discreet about his activities, and anonymous sexual harassment allegations against him were made public as recently as 2014 in Sherman’s book. Cosby was sued for sexual assault in 2005, and stories about him have been widely, if quietly, circulating for years in the entertainment world.

Yet neither story broke open until, somehow, one incident got people’s attention: a 2014 joke from comedian Hannibal Buress in Cosby’s case, a 2016 lawsuit from Gretchen Carlson in Ailes’s. It may not be a coincidence that Sherman’s book, released about 10 months before Buress blew up the Cosby story, didn’t cause a bigger stir over Ailes’s activities at the time — but that Carlson’s lawsuit, which came out after nearly 60 women had already accused Cosby of sexual assault, caught fire.

Something, perhaps, is changing — but only just starting to change. And the history of sexual harassment helps explains why, especially now, it’s common to see these kinds of allegations only surface decades later.

“Sexual harassment” has only existed as a concept for about 40 years. It took even more time for society to understand the issue and broadly agree that it was a problem worth solving. And even then, this agreement often doesn’t play out well in practice. One of the ex-employees who spoke to the Daily Beast said there is a “conspiracy of silence” on this issue because Ailes’s victims are afraid to speak out.

“The problem is you don’t want to come forward because you don’t want to be personally and professionally destroyed,” she said. “You don’t want to bring down Roger Ailes’s wrath on your head.”

She added that Ailes is far from the only male executive who abuses his power and influence for sexual purposes. “Television is really a difficult, arbitrary, and competitive business, and you don’t want to give TV executives a reason to say no,” she said.

Victims are at a serious disadvantage, especially when their attackers are powerful and influential men. “Sexual harassment has financial consequences for women,” said Patricia Barnes, an attorney and an expert on workplace discrimination. Victims of harassment are often driven out of their jobs, Barnes said, and our legal system makes it “almost impossible” for women to get justice for this, since court cases can take so long and cost so much.

If one person breaks her silence and comes forward, though, it can open the floodgates and embolden other victims to add their stories as testimony. That’s what appears to be happening here.

And more importantly, it appears to be making an impact. Even for high-profile women like Carlson, it’s a struggle to be heard and believed when society would prefer not to and victim blaming is still very real. But at least we’re starting to see more in the way of real consequences for high-profile perpetrators.


U.S. Politics

Fox News Slams Trump Campaign’s ‘Terrorizations’ Against Megyn Kelly



“We can’t give into terrorizations toward any of our employees.”

Fox News slammed Donald Trump’s decision to skip Thursday night’s debate in Iowa and accused his campaign manager of “terrorizations” against Megyn Kelly, “The Kelly File” host who will be one of the moderators at the event.

Trump has had an ongoing feud with Kelly since she questioned his sexist attacks against women during a debate in August. Fox News said the war of wordsescalated behind the scenes over the weekend during a call with Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

In a statement released to Politico on Tuesday night, the conservative news network claimed:

“In a call on Saturday with a Fox News executive, Lewandowski stated that Megyn ‘had a rough couple days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so.”

“We can’t give into terrorizations toward any of our employees,” the network said.

Fox News said the GOP front-runner for president spent four days lobbying to have Kelly replaced, but they refused to give in to his demands.

“Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards,” the network said.

Trump is still welcome to join the debate “but he can’t dictate the moderators or the questions.”

The latest statement is a sharp turn from one released earlier in the day, which took more of a humorous tone. According to The New York Times, Fox News initially said:

“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”

Writing on Twitter, Trump dismissed that earlier statement as a “pathetic attempt by @foxnews to try and build up ratings for the #GOPDebate.  Without me they’d have no ratings!”

At the time of this writing, Trump has not yet commented on the latest statement accusing his campaign manager of threatening Kelly.


AMTRAK · Budget Cuts · Rep. Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan Went On Fox News To Defend Amtrak Safety Funding. It Didn’t Go Well.

Paul Ryan on Fox News Channel
Paul Ryan on Fox News Channel | CREDIT: FOX NEWS


At least seven people died and 200 were injured in Tuesday’s Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia — even though technology exists that could have prevented the tragedy. A day after his Republican colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines to cut about one-fifth of Amtrak’s budget, House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) incorrectly claimed that Congress had already funded implementing the safety system it mandated in 2008.

Positive Train Control (PTC) would allow railroads to use GPS to stop or slow trains in cases of driver emergencies, switches left in the wrong position, hijacking, natural disasters, or other human error. Seven years ago, Congress enacted the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which required the nation’s busiest railroad operators to have these technologies fully in place by December 2015. Though Amtrak’s president has called PTC “the most important rail safety advancement of our time,” the chronicallycash-strapped Amtrak has struggled to put in place its Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES) PTC technology system on the timetable it planned and the section of track where Tuesday’s accident occurred lacks it. The train was reportedly traveling at more than 100 miles per hour in a 50 MPH zone. Robert Sumwalt, the National Transportation Safety Board official leading the investigation into Tuesday’s crash, made clear on Wednesday, “Based on what we know right now, we feel that had such a system been installed on this section of track, this accident would not have occurred.”

Paul Ryan, who has made budget cuts a top priority, warned in a Fox News interview on Thursday that Congress cannot “rush to judgment and try doubling the size of government programs” in response to what he believes was “human error.”

Ryan noted that Congress had already “authorized and mandated the sort of speed control systems to be put in place,” though he noted “it wasn’t put in place here at this time.” Asked by Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade whether Congress had actually funded those systems, Ryan claimed that they had.

“Yes!” Ryan responded, “Yeah, we already passed an Amtrak funding, an authorization bill earlier this year. And the appropriations process is working its way through right now.”

Ryan did not note that this appropriation would be well below Amtrak’s request which had included millions for PTC — and below even the past several years’ funding levels. And if Congress had provided the necessary funds to install PTC across the country, there would be no need for a Senate bill filed just weeks ago to delay the implementation deadline from December 2015 to 2020.

Watch the video:

Ryan said he hoped “cooler heads can prevail” and “people won’t seize on political opportunities out of tragedies like this” to spend more money. Asked whether he thought rebuilding America’s infrastructure should be a priority, Ryan noted that the Highway Trust Fund goes bankrupt later this month but that he would not back tax increases for infrastructure improvement as “we can do better by saving more money [and] being more efficient.”

Greta Van Susteren · President Obama

Greta Van Susteren Slams Media’s ‘Bad Questions’ For Obama

Is hell about to freeze over?  A Fox News commentator defending our President?

The Huffington Post

Greta van Susteren said on Sunday that President Barack Obama’s end-of-the-year press conference Friday provided further evidence of why his approval ratings have dropped so low and how the media are not helping.

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” the Fox News anchor criticized reporters’ treatment of the president and the questions they asked at the press conference.

“The media beat up on him,” Susteren said. “The media had bad questions. They kept punching him.”

At Friday’s press conference, Obama was asked several times to reflect on what some are calling the worst year of his presidency. Most notable were the question from Fox News’ Ed Henry on the NSA scandal and the question from NBC’s Chuck Todd regarding the failures of the Obamacare website.

Susteren said that Obama’s presence on Friday was “depressing” and “pathetic,” concluding that the president has lost his greatest strength: “his ability to inspire.”

“He sucked the oxygen out of the room,” she said. “He ends the year where you just want to slit your throat almost because it was so depressing.”

Watch the video for the full clip.

First Amendment Rights

Jon Stewart Blasts Fox Over ‘Duck Dynasty’

In the 80’s when I was at an interview for admissions to a pre-law honors program at college, one of the questions asked was: What’s your position on the First Amendment, particularly the issue of free speech?”

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.[1]

I remember answering the question by rephrasing a quote from Voltaire:  “I may not like what you say, but I’ll gladly defend your right to say it…”I said .   It’s how I have always felt about free speech.

I’ve never seen an episode of Duck Dynasty.  I do know that what I’ve read thus far, one of the cast members gave an interview to GQ Magazine in which he had some choice words for Blacks and Gays.

Yes, what Phil Roberston said  to  GQ  was stupid and insensitive on so many levels, but to castigate him by removing him from the series is just as wrong as what he said.  So, long story short…I agree with Jon Stewart on this one…especially when he demonstrates how Fox News is the biggest violator of free speech by stifling others’ free speech.  This also applies to Tea Party types and many Conservatives.

The Huffington Post

On last night’s “Daily Show,” Jon Stewart took a position on A&E’s suspension of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson — and it’s not the one you may think.

He admitted he has never seen the show (“I don’t actually watch ‘Duck Dynasty,’ and I had assumed it was a show where ducks reenact the show ‘Dynasty’ — which, by the way, would have a huge gay audience”), but when news broke that Robertson made homophobic and racist comments to GQ in a new interview, Stewart was hardly surprised that Fox News would be outraged.

And of course they were, as personalities lambasted “political correctness” and the “word police” who were punishing Robertson for expressing conservative views.

While Stewart did not agree with Robertson’s statements, he took the Patrick Henry stance of defending his right to say them. “I think the guy said a zinger,” Stewart deadpanned. “But I also have an inclination to support a world where saying ignorant shit on television doesn’t get you kicked off that medium,” he said while adopting a sheepish look, implying that he would have been kicked off years ago had he been held to the same standard. (Although some would argue that the nature and context of controversial statements determine the punishment. Stewart’s own “Daily Show” predecessor, Craig Kilborn, was suspended after making sexually crass comments about his female staffers to a men’s magazine.)

Stewart may have defended Robertson’s right to say what he said, but he could hardly ignore the hypocrisy on Fox News’ part about how far free speech should go.

“I guess I stand with the free speech absolutists at Fox News, who don’t believe you should have to adhere to the culture norms of speech. Mostly,” he said, before rolling a montage of Fox personalities outraged that some people and companies have abandoned “Merry Christmas” in favor of “Happy Holidays,” including a certain reality show family.

Check out the full clip above.

Jon Stewart · The Daily Show

Jon Stewart’s Reaction To Megyn Kelly’s ‘White Santa’ Statement Is All We Need

By the way, has anyone noticed my new avatar ?  It’s a gesture against Megan Kelly’s “statement” about “Santa”…

The Huffington Post

Fox News has certainly made their fair share of problematic gaffes on air, but on Thursday, they marched forward with out-and-out racism when Megyn Kelly clarified to kids that Santa is white, despite what the liberal media has been telling them.


Jon Stewart hit back: “Who are you actually talking to?”

He tried to imagine the kid Kelly was addressing: “Sophisticated enough to be watching a news channel at 10 o’clock at night, yet innocent enough to still believe Santa Claus is real, yet racist enough to be freaked out if he isn’t white.”

Even more troublesome was her statement that the black Slate writer she was addressing need not have concerned herself with such issues: “Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change.” As Stewart pointed out, that’s literally the dictionary definition of oppression.

Check out the full clip above.


Fox News

Megyn Kelly Really Wants The Kids To Know Santa And Jesus Are White


Oh my.  Despite her playing by the rules of Fox News, Megan Kelly is probably the smartest person there.  What have they done to her?  In terms of the debate,  at least one of her points is inaccurate.  The Historical Jesus was a Middle Eastern Jew.   No contest on the “Santa Clause” part.

The Huffington Post

This is how Megyn Kelly handled a story by a black woman who wrote that maybe, just maybe, Santa doesn’t have to be white all the time (because—spoiler alert—Santa can be all things to all people!):

For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. But this person is maybe just arguing that we should also have a black Santa. But, you know, Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids.

For good measure, she also assured the children that Jesus was white too—something that is far from a settled question.

(h/t The Wire)

Fox News Distortions · Martin Bashir

Someone Needed To Say This…

Not everyone feels bad about the Martin Bashir firing, but everyone should read the following piece.  It goes far beyond one person being fired for saying something negative against right-wingers…

Fox News and other networks have gone farther than anything Bashir has said in terms of insults to and about the POTUS, FLOTUS and even Malia Obama.  Not to mention their disdain for the “other”, period.  The following piece says everything I’m thinking and does so in a cohesive and formidable way:

Steve Marmel

So, Martin Bashir is off MSNBC. Because that’s what we on the left do. We love to pride ourselves on taking the high road.

All the while Fox News, or the militant right, or the gun thugs say and do whatever they want to push for things that damage the country or the people within it. Classless things. Bullying behavior. Below the belt shots. Flat out lies. And here we are, patting ourselves for being “better than that.” It’s time to stop.

Martin Bashir quit yesterday. Or was fired. Or resigned willingly. Or was pressured out. I don’t know the specifics and I don’t care. All I see is a strong, furious voice for the left being taken off the air. All I see is the left being told one more time: Be upset, but don’t get TOO upset. It’s time to stop rolling over whenever some harsh, vicious, shallow half-term grifter cries crocodile tears. Because the next day, she’s going to remain horrible and keep doing and pushing for horrible things, as one more person on the left is silent.

Martin Bashir, for all his ham-handedness, was not afraid to throw a forceful punch to make a point. And when he did, it resonated. But because he crossed some imaginary line we make for ourselves – because we have to worry about the feelings of people who accuse the President of “Pallin’ around the terrorists” or using racialist terms like “Blood Libel” – we silence ourselves. Why? Am I supposed to care about the feelings of the Palins, Bachmanns, Goehmerts, Ryans, Pauls and Cruzes of this world? I will not. What they want and what they are doing is far, far worse than anything a Martin Bashir said.Stupid Fox News Quotes

He had every right to be angry. We all do. It’s been five years since the right decided this President didn’t deserve his vision – elected by a landslide TWICE – to be executed. So the right jumped in the mud and started throwing it by the buckets. We have GOT to stop being afraid to be angry. Let our policies be the high road. But let’s stop fighting bad guys with one hand tied behind our back.

You know what’s uglier than what Martin Bashir said?

Cutting SNAP benefits from people who can’t afford it.

Demonizing 47 percent of America as lazy and moochers.

Turning our backs on our veterans and the homeless and the unemployed.

Suppressing votes.

It’s time to accept the inelegant and imperfect messenger in return for a powerful and fierce message that can resonate. We are debating people who – when they scream “You Lie” during the “State of the Union” speech, or point an angry bony finger at the President like he’s some sort of petulant child… they become heroes.

We are debating who – when George Zimmerman shot an unarmed black kid – practically gave him a crown, a cape and a scepter and made him their king.

They should be demonized. Daily. Hourly. Viciously. And we don’t. Why? Because we’re “better than that?”

Stop pretending there’s some advantage to muzzling just how pissed we are, and muzzling just how hard a punch that can be thrown. It’s not just seen as weakness, it is exploited as one. If we don’t want to continue losing ground on issues that matter, we have to stop ceding it.

There will be another Martin Bashir. He will saying something vicious. And some person on the right will boo-hoo about it. And then, that voice of left-wing fury needs to say “Don’t like it? Tough.” And then they need to keep on speaking.

It’s time to stop being afraid to get our hands dirty. It’s time to get angry. Stay Angry. Fight fiercely. And never forget it’s a fight. Because the minute you do… …you’ve lost. – Steve Marmel