FOX News: The Number One Name in Murder Fantasies

Pamela - posted on 11/15/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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Bill O'Reilly's recent "joke" about decapitating Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank was only the latest example of a demented Fox News culture that permits on-air personalities to fantasize about assassination and other forms of violence against those deemed enemies of the station, its personalities or their worldview.

During the cable channel's 2008 election coverage, in what she later called an attempt at humor, Fox News contributor Liz Trotta linked Osama bin Laden to Barack Obama as people who both should be assassinated:

And now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama, uh Obama. Well, both, if we could.

A week before Trotta's "joke," Republican primary candidate Mike Huckabee was apologizing for his own Obama assassination quip. Addressing a gathering of the National Rifle Association, Huckabee joked that a loud thud heard backstage during his address was Barack Obama diving to the floor to avoid gun shots. Months later, Huckabee was given his own Fox News show.

With its biggest new star, Glenn Beck, Fox News hired a host well-known for on-air death fantasies--for instance, chattering about killing filmmaker Michael Moore with his bare hands and hoping out loud that Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D.-Ohio) would burn to death. In a Fox News skit in September 2009, Beck portrayed himself poisoning Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

It's a culture that apparently filters down to Fox News viewers and supporters. Over the years Fox Nation, the Fox News "owned and operated" fan website, has regularly featured comments expressing the desire to see Barack Obama's assassinated.

Yesterday [Tuesday] News Hounds published a collection of such quotes, some of which can still be read at on the Fox site. Fox Nation purports to be self-policing, to depend on readers to report inappropriate and irresponsible remarks for removal. Apparently presidential assassination fantasies fall short of Fox Nation's standards for inappropriate or irresponsible commentary.

Recent examples of these assassination fantasies on Fox Nation include comments calling for President Obama to "get what Kennedy got," for the CIA to "take this pres down" and a warning to the president that the Koran "ain't thick enough to stop a .308 round."

There is some evidence that Fox's murder fantasy culture has already helped to spark violent action. Reporting for Media Matters, journalist John Hamilton tells the story of Byron Williams, a Beck devotee who engaged in a shootout that injured two California Highway Patrol officers in July. After his apprehension, Williams told police he'd intended to travel Oakland California to kill people at the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU.

In a jailhouse interview in which he described the right-wing media sources that informed his views, Williams returned again and again to Glenn Beck:

I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind.

Among the things Beck did, according to Hamilton, was attack the Tides Foundation in 29 separate Fox News shows in the 18 months leading up to Williams' foiled mission to Oakland.

Moreover, as the ADL reports, Pittsburgh's Richard Poplawski was so inspired by Beck's anti-government conspiracy theories, he reposted to a neo-Nazi website tape of Beck suggesting the government was building concentration camps for dissidents--before he was arrested after a shootout with police that left three officers dead.

If this all wasn't so deadly serious it would be seriously funny, because O'Reilly has spent years accusing liberal and progressive websites of fomenting hate speech. O'Reilly's crusade largely targets the comment and open forum sections of such websites, highlighting comments that generally pale in comparison to those broadcast on Fox and posted on Fox Nation. To add to the irony, when O'Reilly is called out for failing to make distinctions between the editorial content and comment sections of these websites, he argues that the groups are responsible for everything on their websites:

Open forum is bull.... You can regulate what’s on your website.

When it comes to hypocrisy and Fox News, you really can't make this stuff up.

The hostility behind O'Reilly's creepy Milbank beheading joke was on display when the host appeared to make a veiled threat toward Milbank's boss in an appearance on another Fox show. Apparently angered that Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt permitted Milbank to publish columns critical of Fox News, O'Reilly had Fox host Megyn Kelly put a picture of Hiatt up on the screen, and told her audience:

This is the editor, Milbank's editor, Fred Hiatt. And Fred won't do anything about Milbank lying in his column. I just want everybody in America to know what the Washington Post has come to. All right, you can take Fred's picture off. Fred, have a nice weekend, buddy.

(Later in the same appearance, O'Reilly suggested that the host join him in physically assaulting Milbank: "I think you and I should go and beat him up.")

O'Reilly's veiled threat toward Hiatt recalls one made in a recent interview with an Australian paper by Fox boss Rupert Murdoch (Australian Financial Review, 11/5/10):

People love Fox News.... We said to the cable operators when we put the price up, we said, do you want a monument to yourself....  Cancel us, you might get your house burnt down.

Perhaps the fish does rot from the head.

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Pamela - posted on 11/24/2010

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I've never heard Beck claim to be a journalist - he labels himself mostly an entertainment guy and he is. The problem is so many people take him very seriously.

I watched O'Reilly get super pissed at someone once when they questioned his title as a "journalist" and he spent quite a bit of time defending that title.

So when he (O'Reilly) gets called to the mat over journalistic standards, he's an "opinion" guy. But when someone says he's not a journalist - he's a serious "journalist" - his knickers get all knotted up. So which is he? A journalist or just an opinion guy? If he is a journalist then there are standards he really should attain to (and this would be true not just for O'Reilly, but all journalists).

You may be surprised to hear this but Kat, I actually agree with most of your assessment of the condition of journalism in this country. Opinion is NOT news. It's just opinion. But we've been conditioned to think of opinion as news. And it really saddens me. But let me state this: FOX news is not news. They have paved the way for entertainment and opinion/ commentary that passes as news and everybody else is basically following because FOX has shown that bullshit sells. If Murdoch could makes a ga-zillion dollars selling a liberal agenda, FOX news would be liberal. If that sounds cynical, well, perhaps it is. But it's also true. So what FOX has done is set a standard so stinking low, they've basically brought the whole journalism thing down. It really speaks poorly of the state our nation is in -

News, quite frankly, should not be either conservative or liberal. In fact, if rightly presented and told, news will contain both elements. Because that is life. So to have a "news" organization present this idea that the only valid news is conservative news, is bunk. Then it becomes nothing more than propaganda and the promotion of a specific agenda and ideology. That frankly scares the hell out of me.

Pamela - posted on 12/02/2010

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I think you're correct in what you say Sara. None of us are completely objective about anything. But news organizations should make every effort to present the news as objectively as possible...I'm not asking for perfection - just that they try.Walter Cronkite was one of the most respected news anchors in America because he made every effort to present news around the world as objectively as he could. People trusted him because of that. We all knew (I was quite young as a child when he was on TV, but I remember sitting in my granddad's lap while the CBS Evening News was on with Cronkite at the helm) that he had an opinion - in fact, if I recall correctly, at the end of his segment, he would take off his "objective journalist" hat and put on his "commentator's" hat. But he was very clear on what were facts and what was commentary on those facts. Big big difference than what FOX does. FOX gives us opinions and presents those opinions as facts. Most often, they are not. Sometimes the info presented is blatantly false - FOX has been shown to create news - ACORN was a prime example of the kind of buffoonry FOX is quite capable of. That's not news. Frankly, MSNBC to my knowledge, is not guilty of that kind of activity.

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Pamela - posted on 12/02/2010

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Regarding racism, Mr. O'Reilly has stated (heard him with mine own ears) that he wants to take "his country back". He defined what that actually meant. It meant he wanted the power to belong to "white males". I heard him actually state that. He called himself a "white supramicist". Now if that isn't racism, tell me what is?

Sara - posted on 11/29/2010

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I don't think any news program, even if it tries as hard as possible, can ever be 100% objective. People just don't work that way. I think where the lapse is in news these days is people reading/watching it with critical literacy. I never take what I read at face value, no matter the source.

Kat - posted on 11/28/2010

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@Katherine Collins : woah. whenever i watch fox news, i've never seen anything racist, anti-gay, or anti-semitic. i dont know what fox news you're watching.

and Pamela Lake - i agree with you. news should be neither liberal not conservative. but it's too bad that nobody in the world DOESNT have an opinion. i think tho, that news stations should pretty much make sure theyre center. other than the opinion guys like Beck, Olberman, etc - theyre opinion guys, so yah, they can spout their opinions on tv. but as for the ones who are journalists, i think they should try to talk about news, and ONLY news, with no slant to the left or the right. but that will never happen probably in our lifetimes.

Pamela - posted on 11/27/2010

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Murdoch is a genius and a cynical one at that. Of all the news organizations out there, FOX is the worst by far. While they've certainly lowered journalistic standards that other organizations have embraced, I do not put MSNBC, CNN nor any of the other groups at the same level as FOX. MSNBC and the rest are maybe in the mud, but FOX is in the bottom of the outhouse.

Sara - posted on 11/27/2010

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On a side note, has anyone ever noticed the kind of commercials they show on Fox? I watch it every day at the gym (it's my "Fox time" and it helps fuel my disgust in order to my workout), usually it's during Glenn Beck's program. The commericals just blow me away. They are very different from commericals you'd see on any other station. They range from anti-aging products to life alert bracelets for old folks and everything in between. They are mind-boggling. It just makes it pretty damn clear who their target audience is and how they chosing to present the world. I agree there is no unbiased news source, though I'd argue some are better than others. Fox, however, has recreated the game and really done a disservice to the profession of "journalism" as a whole. Rupurt Murdoch is a damn genius, which explains why he's so rich.

Katherine - posted on 11/27/2010

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Fox News has the most propaganda of ANY "news" channel EVER.
They are ant-gay, racist, and probably anti-semetic.

I can't STAND them.

Kat - posted on 11/23/2010

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i'm sure i'll get blasted for this, but oh well

there is no real "fair and balanced" news source. fox, msnbc, cnn, and all other news stations. people will watch the station that's closest to their own views, no matter what the people on the stations say. Anderson Cooper isnt really a journalist - as much as as what Van Susteren is. after all, he got his start on the same high school "channel one" show that Lisa Ling did. there is no journalism anymore. it's all opinions disguised as "news."

most people who watch msnbc and cnn think theyre watching news, too. theyre just watching an entertainment channel disguised as news. dont forget, those "news" channels are vile and repulsive too. not to mention whatever "news" channel has that woman joy behar. and let's not forget all the "jounalists" who called for Bush's head.

i was told by a govt worker in a govt building they have to put the communal tv on msnbc or cnn because those are the stations that report what the govt wants you to here instead of news they dont want you to know. sorry, just sayin'. came straight from a govt mouth.

an i actually saw oreilly say he and beck arent journalists, theyre opinion guys.

Pamela - posted on 11/15/2010

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Like Sarah Palin? Lol. You know what really aggravates me? People will be watching her "reality" show and they'll probably think "why she's just like me!" - never mind she's got a-gazillion dollars in her banking account and she won't know anything about legislation and public policy - and they'll freaking vote for her come 2012.

Yep, I agree with you Theresa. Though I do think we should send in your "National Inquirer of Cable News" to Rachel Maddow - maybe we could make that title stick. It would completely honest and accurate. Kind of funny too. Let's start calling them that. We'll call 'em the NICN only we won't call them "news". The last "N" can stand for "Nicompoops". So they'll be the "National Inquirer of Cable Nicompoops".

I watched O'Reilly actually blast someone who stated he wasn't a journalist. Oh they're all quite quick to prove out "valid" they are. They're not a valid news source at all but good luck convincing anyone of that.

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What else are they going to say Pamela? "We are the National Inquirer of cable news"! Lol! Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are always justifying and explaining how they are merely reporting the "news" that America wants to hear. They describe what they do as commentating on the "views" and "opinions" of good old fashioned, common sense Americans, who don't like where this country is heading.



All they do is provide a platform for the most controversial and inflammatory topics. How Greta Van Susteren and Bill O'Reilly consider themselves journalist in that environment is ridiculous. I guess there's always a place at Fox News for seekers of fame and fortune with poor judgement and without a conscience.

Pamela - posted on 11/15/2010

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Actually they often do claim to be "news". Why they even have news "anchors". Most of the people who watch FOX, think they're watching a news program. Of course they have entertainment shows, but FOX themselves claim to have actual "news" programming. Bill O'Reilly himself claimed to be a journalist.

I agree with Mary, this organization is vile.

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Fox News will continue to exist as long as there are conspiracy theorists and people who believe in "left wing indoctrination". Their catch phrase of "fair and balanced" doesn't mean reporting news stories that present an objective opinion. They report news stories that present the "flip side" to what they believe is "being shoved down your throat" by the liberal media.



They constantly and continuously announce that they are not a news organization because they don't operate like a news organization. They don't want to be held accountable like a news organizations. They don't reach the standards of a news organization because they are not trying to. They are admittedly just a bunch of commentators and entertainers who are getting paid handsomely. There is no journalistic integrity. Opinions and emotions are the only things that matter and take precedence over facts, civility and common sense.



And this superiority complex that individuals at Fox News has, is nothing new. For decades people who feel that their power is being taken away, resort to violence measures to oppress or eliminate the targets of their frustration and angst. Anybody who is not in agreement or accordance with Fox News is considered fair game in whatever smear campaign Fox News launches against them. They hid behind "free speech" but it's just good old fashioned intimidation and thuggery in my book!

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