The FOX News – MSNBC Taste Test : A Non-Scientific Tape-Delayed Live-Blogged Inquiry


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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218 Responses

  1. Avatar Plinko says:

    Your commie-dem membership card is in the mail, Tod.Report

  2. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    Liberals will claim that MSNBC is no way biased,

    I’ll just claim (truthfully) that I never watch MSNBC and have no opinion about it. Good on them for firing Nazi Pat, though.Report

  3. Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

    “There is also a lot of talk about how the Republicans have spent the past three years trying to compromise with Obama, but he refuses to talk to them. This just goes to show how much the Lame Stream Media hides the truth. Here I had been thinking the GOP was being fairly obstructionist, what with them saying all the time that’s what they were doing. Thankfully Greta and Bernard are here to set me straight and now I know the insider truth, which based on what they’re saying I think looks like this: Every night the GOP leadership walks over and stands on the White House lawn. They throw tiny pebbles at the windows, whispering for Obama to come out and talk to them but also trying hard not to wake Michelle up. All they want to do is sit down and give away half their demands in the spirit of compromise. Instead, dogs are released on them as Obama stands on the balcony, laughing maniacally. Disappointed, they all slowly walk home taking tiny, tiny steps, their shoulders sagging, too sad to speak to one another. They eventually arrive at their respective homes, each alone, each microwaving a hot pocket to eat in the dark as they sit and stare into space.”

    That’s going to be hard to top, this month.Report

  4. Since this is only the first installment in your televisual anthropological expedition, it would be premature to comment at any length. My only thoughts are:

    1) Dear God, man. I can’t believe you’re doing this. I mean, it’s awesome that you are. But dear God.

    2) When next we meet, I am totally buying you a drink. Maybe several.

    3) Sweet mother of mercy! What is that woman in that picture wearing? Is that… they can’t be calling that a “skirt,” can they? If she’s cold enough to be wearing a long-sleeved turtleneck, why didn’t they let her wear more than a two-inch strip of fabric below the waist? It makes the “Hooters” shorts look downright matronly.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

      I want to double or even triple down on #1 here. I have very little hope that MSNBC is going to make this better for you. You are a brave, brave soul.

      That said, I laughed out loud several times. This was a really excellent post.Report

      • Avatar Michelle says:

        At least MSNBC has Rachel who, even though biased, has a sense of humor and doesn’t take herself too seriously. Ed’s a blowhard and whoever, during the last election cycle, labeled Chris Matthews as “Tweety” was on to something.Report

        • Avatar Bad-ass Motherfisher says:

          For sure, don’t miss Laurence O’Donnell, playing the “pit bull of the left.”

          I used to really enjoy his calm, pragmatic moderation (in print, on NPR’s Left, Right, and Center, and in his early guest slots on MSNBC. But, he evidently thought that he needed to have a stronger “brand,” and spent a couple years turning into an angry, overbearing idealogue. Must have worked, because they finally gave him his own show.Report

          • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

            When Tod is finished with this project, I suspect the ultimate thing we’ll learn is that being an angry, overbearing ideologue is precisely what these prime time shows are about.Report

            • Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark says:

              Although both networks play to their respective partisans, the two networks nevertheless seem quite distinct to me. MSNBC is simply doing what networks have always done: pandering to their audience by telling them what they want to hear.

              Fox, on the other hand, takes a more instrumentalist approach. They manufacture outrage and misunderstanding, by framing a political agenda in deeply–primally–emotional terms. Fox viewers feel that liberalism is consciously destroying America, and everything they find meaningful, not so much because they have a different set of priorities or values, but because they are inherently corrupt, evil, and destructive.

              Fox wasn’t the first to exploit this frame–I’d have to give credit to Newt Gingrich. But they certainly do much to contribute to a cultural atmosphere of disparagement and distrust; this “news” outlet is pursuing a plan to polarize the electorate. The other side, their subtext goes, is dangerous to cooperate with, because they want the destruction of everything you hold dear.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      That picture prompted the same reaction I had the last time I stood in line with undergraduate students on campus: “Young lady, does your father know you are out in public dressed like that?” Which probably says more about my own age than anything else, but really…Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Hey now… maybe it was “Short Skirt/Halter Top” Day in whatever city they were in. That’s a big day! Especially up north!Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        She’s 43. He’s probably stealing the other senior citizens’ glasses so they can’t ogle her.Report

    • Avatar b-psycho says:

      Looks like if she were to uncross we’d see her natural color.Report

      • Avatar Miss Mary says:

        When I wear skirts that short, I wear panties. I should hope that is common sense and she would follow suit. Skirts are always shorter when sitting down and wearing it when you are being filmed is just a bad choice. I hope she feels comfortable saying no to outrageous wardrobe choices.Report

        • Avatar karl says:

          She is wearing panties — if you have a really good zoom feature on your computer you’ll see that her segment (no pun intended) was filmed on a Monday.Report

          • Avatar Miss Mary says:

            I’m so not zooming in to find out, it’s just wrong. What does wearing panties have to do with it being Monday?Report

            • Avatar karl says:

              Some women own sets of seven embroidered undergarments: one for each day of the week. It’s an ancient and revered tradition.Report

              • Avatar Miss Mary says:

                I’ve had a set like that. It doesn’t mean you wear panties just because the embroidery tells you to. In fact, all the more reason to go without that day.
                The point is, you wear something if your skirt is more than two or three inches above the knee. If your skirt is as short as this woman’s, you wear something pretty because someone is going to see something at some point throughout the day.
                Just a helpful hint for the next time you are thinking of wearing a miniskirt, Karl. Summer is just around the corner!Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                When I wear skirts that short, I wear panties.

                The point is, you wear something if your skirt is more than two or three inches above the knee.

                Is there an implication here that strays into “too much information” territory?Report

              • Avatar Miss Mary says:

                Infer what you must, James. The rules of fashion are not black and white, but this really isn’t the place to discuss it. Somehow I get the impression that the topic does not pique many people’s interest who frequent this venue.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                There just seem to be a lot of “ifs” and “whens” that suggest that, um, “going commando” might be more common than I had thought.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                I don’t want people to even think I MIGHT be going commando, which is why I wear my underwear over my pants.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                In that particular case, sir, the rules of fashion are indeed black and white. But now I know how to find you the next time I visit Roseopolis. Even there you surely stand out.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                It’s actually not all that helpful for the rest of us, given that he wears bikini briefs.Report

              • Avatar Miss Mary says:

                It’s really up to the individual’s personal preference. Comfort plays a significant role in one’s decision (I assume this is the case for men as well); however you also must consider the clothing over the undergarments. Miniskirts, shear fabrics, and jeans need panties. Anything especially tight might warrant skipping the panties so you don’t have a line. Long skirts are usually fine to skip panties with and provides you with a whole new sensation. Try it sometime, James.Report

              • Avatar Miss Mary says:

                How did I end up in a conversation about when or when not to wear panties with a bunch of boys? You are all hopeless.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Sorry, I was just joking about your phrasing. Believe me, I’m in no position to check out any less-than-obvious sartorial choices of anyone, male or female.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Wait, I just noticed that you recommend I wear a long skirt and no undies… I think my wife might not approve.Report

              • Avatar Miss Mary says:

                Oh, James, stop. Your going to make me spit wine all of my computer and I wouldn’t appreciate that.Report

              • Avatar b-psycho says:

                I wanted to make a snarkier verison of James’ comment, but it kept coming off in my head as super pervy how I wanted to phrase it.

                No shock, being an admitted pervert an’ all, but still.Report

              • Avatar Miss Mary says:

                I’m beginning to think that it is not possible to have a serious conversation regarding ladies undergarments with you “gentlemen” ;). What was I thinking.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                b-psycho–Yeah, I started twice and hit cancel. Notice how many hours there are between Mary’s original comment and before I finally went through with making the joke. My wife reads this blog a lot–if I came across as really creepy, she’ll let me know.

                Mary–it is a favorite subject for most men, you know.Report

              • Avatar Miss Mary says:

                It’s comforting to know someone is monitoring your depravity, sir. Should we find you a babysitter too, psycho, or can you manage on your own knowing that wives are lurking in the shadows?

                Honestly, y’all are too funny.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Having spent three weeks in Italy in July, I regretted that I couldn’t go commando under a long skirt.Report

              • Avatar Miss Mary says:

                I will remember to pack light for my next summer vacation to Italy. Thanks, Kazzy. I would just hate to waste all that valuable space in the suitcase with panties (eye roll).

                How do men get along with such limited choices in their wardrobe? I’m beginning to understand why some men choose to wear women’s clothing.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                I have certain anatomical features that make humidity the devil for me. I am poorly evolved.Report

              • Avatar b-psycho says:

                How do men get along with such limited choices in their wardrobe?

                Maybe I’m a particular case, but I think I have way too many clothes. Over the years I’ve accumulated a bunch of button down shirts (some of which I was told at the time were meant to be “casual” — no, a true casual shirt does not have buttons, at all. THIS is a casual shirt) and long pants with creases I pretty much only wear to job interviews. Unless I have to try to impress someone, t-shirt & shorts, or a hoodie & sweatpants when it’s cold, are enough.Report

              • Avatar Plinko says:

                Kazzy, might I suggest you summer in delightful Scotland next trip?Report

              • Avatar b-psycho says:

                (by which I refer to the revelation that sometimes you don’t wear… DAMMIT! There it goes again. Never mind.)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                Because of the weather? Or the kilts?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Both. Apparently there’s nothing like a cool breeze among the privates.Report

              • Avatar karl says:

                Thanks for the miniskirt tip! And it never occurred to me to wear panties with the wrong day on them — you’re just a tad subversive, aren’t you?Report

          • Avatar b-psycho says:

            She also seems to have a borderline Something-About-Mary going on with her hair in that pic.Report

  5. Avatar James Hanley says:

    (Seriously, libertarians – this guy is your great white hope?)

    No! Goddamit, no! Rand Paul denies being a libertarian. End of story. Liberals keep calling him a libertarian, so maybe he’s their great white libertarian hope.

    Stossell, … stands firm with his thesis. “Well, yes, it is really terrible that they suffer, but most of those people have televisions.”

    Stossell’s an idiot. He’s the kind of libertarian who makes for good TV, and that’s all. I have to think of myself in this “they own a TV” context, because I never in my life have bought a new TV. I have had a couple of used ones handed down from dead relatives, been given a (small) new one as a gift, bought a couple at a garage sale, and–just this past week–been given a used one as a gift by a friend who bought a flat screen. So once again I have two televisions in my house, collective garage sale value being about $50. I could sell them to buy food, but they’d feed my family for only a week, and then only if we stuck to rice and beans for the week (which, no doubt, would make Stossell happy).Report

    • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

      But the time poor people waste watching TV could be spent at gainful employment, so the government wouldn’t need to rob the Koch brothers at gunpoint to pay for their food stamps.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        I think the real problem is that we know those poor people are going to be watching MSNBC and tricked into voting Democratic, when we all know that if they would vote Republican they’d all get jobs, be able to pay the mortgage, and have a three-car garage full of bassboats and jetskis.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

      Hey, in defense of liberals, I do kind of like Rand Paul. I think being about 90% right on 30% of the issues is a decent average in the U.S. Congress.Report

    • Avatar Katherine says:

      I bought a TV at a garage sale for $20 bucks (cable’s included in my rent). Groceries for a month cost a few hundred at least. Stossel has no argument; he’s just advocating hatred for the poor.Report

      • Avatar Plinko says:

        I could not sell any of my three perfectly well-working televisions at a recent garage sale. After a couple of days on the curb, someone finally took them. One person actually stopped and only took the remote control I had taped to the side of one of them.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        I just picked up our third flat screen. For two people. But we are TV/movie junkies and s an avid sports junkie, HD reslly does matter. My WhitePersonProblem was that I couldn’t see the players sweating on our 19″ bedroom tube TV. What am I, a farmer?Report

        • Avatar James Hanley says:

          Bourgeois liberal!Report

          • Avatar M.A. says:

            For less than $350, you can buy a 2700 lumen 1080p projector and you can hook it right in to your cable box or your satellite box. A white sheet hung on the wall, or just a fresh coat of white paint, and you’ll have an 84-inch viewing surface.

            This shows that bourgeois liberals pay too much for their 50-inch TVs. 😉Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              What are the lifetime costs of replacement bulbs? Are the projectors internet-ready? How do they work in sunwashed environments? You think I bought my bounty of TVs on a lark? I AM the 1%… of informed consumers.Report

              • Avatar Plinko says:

                Replacement cost can be high, assuming heavy usage. Bulbs go for $150+ and should be rated for hours of use, standard I think is 5,000 hours per bulb.
                To do internet you’d probably hook up a laptop or desktop to the input (most have multiple inputs IIRC), most out there are really designed to project a computer display.
                In my experience, you want to be able to get the room as dark as possible and project to an opaque surface, my old roommate got a special paint that went a long way to improving the brightness of the projection, we put it in the basement so we could easily get good darkness.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                How much would a luddite have to pay to have someone hook this up for him? 😉

                Would we really need to keep the room dark? Unless it’s after midnight I have a real aversion to sitting in a dark room while watching television. I’d pay extra to avoid the need for a dark room.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Ecch, there’s some home theatre guy in every burg who will manage all this for you. Incident light is the big consideration for projection TV. You don’t want absolute darkness. You want light where you really need it. A good reflective screen, (Plinko’s paint idea) increases albedo, the measure of reflected light (a perfect mirror has an albedo of 1).

                Here are some general principles.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Or you can spend $1000 on an internet-enabled HDTV that you’ll have set up in a matter of minutes and will never have to fuss with again. We’ve got a 55″ in the basement that has Netflix, Pandora,, and dozens of other built in “apps” (plus others available for download), all in crystal clear HD.

                Hell, the 27″ we put in the bedroom cost less than $300.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                I think for the time being I’ll keep watching my garage sale TV, even if I can’t see the scores of games on Fox.

                I’m sure eventually I’ll have an HD flat screen, however long from now that is, but I’ve watched those at friends’ houses, and I’m honestly just not feeling like I’m missing out on anything worth spending much money on. Not judging anyone else–subjective utility and all that.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Ecch, it’s simple. Put a price tag on what you want to spend on it. I get stuff from, here’s a refurbished Toshiba 32″ for 249.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                I think you missed my point, which is that I have put a price tag on it, and it’s not available at my price point. The value–to me, subjectively–of the product is still well below the market price (much like caviar, which I do like, but not enough to pay for).

                I do appreciate the link to newegg, though. I had wondered if that market was there–it’s the route I’d go if my valuation of the product increased sufficiently, but to this point my valuation has been low enough to not make it worth the search costs of looking into such a market. But I always appreciate someone else lowering my search costs.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Newegg is great for a number of things. I heartily second Blaise’s rec.

                James, you should also be mindful that there are other costs associated with an HDTV. Most (but not all) cable companies charge extra for HD services. So even if the set is in your price range, do your homework on what it might mean for your cable bill.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                An understandable sentiment. Yet consider: as I get older and my eyes grow less keen, I find the flat screen “televisions” make excellent monitors. They all have SVGA and HDMI jacks on the back. None of my four monitors are exclusively dedicated to one device.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Blaise–My operating assumption is that other people’s subjective utility is different from mine. So my disinterest in HD is in no way a judgement on others. Whether its eyes getting older (which is what will probably lead me to one eventually), or wanting to see a basketball player’s sweat in all its detail, like Kazzy, it’s all legitimate to me. Heck, if the only reason a person had was that they needed more detail in their hardcore S&M porn, I’d say nothing other than that they’re being rational.

                Kazzy–higher price for HD? Good to know. You tech geeks are like my music geek friends, always providing me with something else worth knowing.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Don’t need it? Don’t buy it. That’s always been my philosophy. My money goes elsewhere, like famine relief. I have Netflix and a good Internet connection. I don’t have cable. I have a little setup so I can get the local digital TV and never use it. Don’t need it. If I’m going to waste time, I’ll waste it out here, with intelligent people.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                A quick perusal seems to imply that they no larger charge extra for HD, with most companies now offering “FREE HD!”, which likely means they simply folded the HD costs into the regular packages. It seems that no matter what package you get, even basic broadcast, you get HD. Which may mean you are actually already paying for it without even taking advantage of it. You’d have to check your local provider to know for sure. But I do know for a long time it was standard to pay extra for HD, sometimes as much as $10/month. I suppose as HD has become increasingly ubiquitous, this pricing system became less justifiable.

                HDTVs will also upconvert most DVD players, meaning your DVDs will look better, even though the DVDs and players themselves are no different. You also generally open up your options for sound. Man, surround sound really is something. It is a hard sell if you haven’t really immersed yourself in a quality setup (which for most home applications, can be had for $500-$600 if you’re a normal person and not an “audiophile”, as they call themselves), but well worth it. The biggest difference between DVD and BluRay is actually the sound quality, not the picture quality (though there is an upgrade there, as well). And if you are a music afficionado (I’m not, but many here seem to be), a quality system can really change the experience. Onkyo makes some GREAT receivers that are very affordable. Near-Bose quality at about 1/5th the price.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                Here’s a thing that changed my life: watching Planet Earth on my (relatively small) 50″ inch TV in Blu-Ray with surround sound.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                And I am FAR from a tech geek… I don’t know what Megahertz or any of that crap means. I just thoroughly research my purchases and enjoy immersing myself in overboard entertainment.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Oooo, Ryan. When I first caught Planet Earth on HD, I was also sold on the experience. And things have only gotten better since all the tech has had half a decade to improve.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Being an audiophile is something I can understand, and that I have purposely chosen not to be. I don’t want to make the investments required, not just monetarily, but in time. But I rarely listen to music in the car, as much as I would like to listen to music while driving, because of sound quality issues. I do listen to music on my computer, but have trained myself to ignore the sound quality issue (I can’t listen to the computer speakers, but I’ve learned to bear it with headphones). Yeah, audiophilia is a definite temptation, but I know just how much time I can spend replaying an album over and over, listening for all the little details. My whole life could be like a teenager who’s just discovered The Wall.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Kazzy, “libertarian tech-geek,” just admit it.Report

              • Avatar Plinko says:

                I’ve always believed Bose is a ripoff, you can buy much better sound at much lower prices elsewhere.

                I’m with you, James. We finally bought a flat screen HD TV a couple of weeks ago, held out with the old tube for as long as she would last before the picture went bad and we had to buy another. It’s nice, but I wish I still had a working old TV and the money.
                Best thing about switching – the old 27″ must have weighed 100 pounds, the new 40″ weighs about 30.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                But if your old TV hadn’t died, how often would you have needed to lift it?Report

              • Avatar Plinko says:

                Well, I’ve moved a lot in my life and the Mrs. is fond of having me re-arrange the furniture.Report

    • Avatar karl says:

      It’s not just TVs, people — these alleged “poor” also have telephones, refrigerators, and indoor plumbing.Report

      • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

        Most of them even have teeth. What has the world come to?Report

        • Avatar James Hanley says:

          “No welfare ’till you sell your spleen,” that’s my motto.Report

          • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

            I honestly think that one consequence of a legal market in organs (something Reason editorializes in favor of) is that organs will be considered assets that affect eligibility for assistance.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley says:

              I get that argument, but I don’t think that will happen. I don’t think the slope is slippery at that point.Report

            • Avatar Plinko says:

              I thought the proper liberal concern on payments for organ donations was either that then only rich people would be able to afford transplants and/or that poor people would be snookered into selling their organs on the cheap by wily libertarian businessmen?Report

    • Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark says:

      No! Goddamit, no! Rand Paul denies being a libertarian. End of story. Liberals keep calling him a libertarian, so maybe he’s their great white libertarian hope.

      No, he doesn’t. He describes himself as a “libertarian and a constitutional conservative.” (I’ve seem him go through this at least three times). So I’ll hang him around your neck just for sport!Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:



        • Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark says:

          Since you asked:

          Randal Howard “Rand” Paul (born January 7, 1963) is the junior United States Senator for Kentucky. He is a member of the Republican Party. A member of the Tea Party movement, he describes himself as a “constitutional conservative”[2] and a libertarian.[3]

          Like his father, the son also favors notions of limited government. “Libertarian would be a good description,” Rand Paul told CNN, “because libertarians believe in freedom in all aspects of your life – your economic life as well as your social life as well as your personal life.”

          It’s often repeated in stories about me or my race for U.S. Senate that I am a “libertarian.” In my mind, the word “libertarian” has become an emotionally charged, and often misunderstood, word in our current political climate. But, I would argue very strongly that the vast coalition of Americans — including independents, moderates, Republicans, conservatives and “Tea Party” activists — share many libertarian points of view, as do I.

          (I know this link seems paradoxical, but it makes it clear that he stopped calling himself a libertarian only for marketing reasons)

          I had seen Paul describe himself as both on TV during the 2010 congressional election campaign (numerous times, as I’ve mentioned). I cannot dredge up those shows, but a little bit of Googling yielded the above.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley says:

            Interesting. He’s numerous times explicitly claimed he wasn’t a libertarian. Maybe he was pronouncing it with a capital “L” (as in Libertarian Party), or maybe your first parenthetical is correct.

            Now the only question is whether he truly believes in “freedom in all aspects of your life – your economic life as well as your social life as well as your personal life.” Since he describes himself also as a conservative, I’m dubious he subscribes to the second part of that. But that’s a different conversation.Report

  6. Avatar greginak says:

    Does anybody claim Maddow or Schultz aren’t liberals? They don’t hide their beliefs. Its Fox that claims to be “fair and balanced.” I think recently they have said that their news is “fair and balanced” but admit that their other shows are conservatives with conservative viewpoints. The primary claim about Fox is that they are entirely conservatively biased, even their supposedly neutral news. I have no idea what MSNBC news shows , so i have no idea about what its quality or bias may be. Does MSNBC even have non-opinion news shows?Report

  7. Avatar dhex says:

    were they out of hairshirts in your size this month or something? good on you for taking one for the team and all, but dang this seems all sorts of horrible.Report

  8. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    Pass a bill that makes him a US citizen instead of a Pakistani citizen.

    This is not as dumb as it sounds. While it’s fishing insane as policy, as a talking point it works well. Rand and the Republicans are trying to help a guy who’s an American hero. The people who oppose it are commie-dems who either didn’t want Osama dead in the first place, or are willing to abandon Dr. Afridi in exactly the same way that they don’t support our troops.Report

    • Avatar David H. says:

      Maybe it’s not as dumb as it sounds, but how effective will it be?

      Israel made Jonathan Pollard an Israeli citizen, and the US still hasn’t released him, either.Report

  9. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    Two questions:

    1. Are there any Hannity drinking games?
    2. Are there any Hannity drinking games that don’t result in all participants dying of alcohol poisoning?Report

  10. Avatar Katherine says:

    I feel incredibly sorry for you, and am beginning to understand why substantial segments of the American public are so misinformed. And perhaps why there are still so many birthers and people who think Obama’s an evil commie.Report

  11. Avatar Ethan Gach says:

    Obama, drones, Kill List. There’s the equivilence.Report

  12. Avatar Jeff Wong says:

    Even if Obama was born outside of the US, he would still be a citizen because his mother was a US citizen who lived in the US for most of her life and lived in the US for more than 2 of her adult years.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      She hadn’t been an adult for two years, which I think is the rub. My initial thought to the controversy was that it didn’t matter whether he was born in Hawaii or Kenya. When I read into it, I came to the opposite conclusion. It was based on a law that has since been changed, though.

      (Note to anyone who cares: Obama was born in Hawaii. And to be perfectly honest, I would not care if he wasn’t. If it was all a lie, I would be rooting for him to get away with it.)Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

        Note to anyone who cares: Obama was born in Hawaii. And to be perfectly honest, I would not care if he wasn’t. If it was all a lie, I would be rooting for him to get away with it.

        I’m convinced he was born in Hawaii too. But if it did turn out that he hadn’t been born a U.S. citizen, then he should be removed.

        Civil disobedience, you say? Fine. But abide by the consequences. Besides, a Biden administration would be so much more fun.Report

  13. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    When you are done with this project, you should send the files of the FOX shows to a volunteer conservative, who will explain why they aren’t the total garbage you say they are.

    After I read his defense, then I’ll watch.

    Sound fair?Report

  14. Avatar Michelle says:

    [i]Also, she (Greta) seems to be allowed to break the FOX gender hotness rule, which is oddly comforting. [/i]

    Greta’s had some pretty major cosmetic surgery and a blonde dye job since her days on CNN so, while she doesn’t quite meet the typical FOX blonde hotness standards, she’s really, really trying.Report

    • Avatar M.A. says:

      The rules are different for highly placed Scientology recruiters, too. My best guess they have some dirt on one of the Fox higher ups – like video or pictures of a gay rendezvous – and Susteren having her own show is the price for silence.Report

  15. Avatar Michelle says:

    I commend you, Tod, for watching at least a bit of FOX so that the rest of us don’t have to. It’s kind of too bad Glenn Beck still isn’t around. If you thought Hannity was a loon, Beck was off the charts.

    My parents watch way too many hours of FOX news almost everyday. They even own a number of books by Hannity, O’Reilly, and Beck. I suspect that they’re typical of a lot of FOX viewers–elderly, relatively well-off, and afraid that the country they used to know has somehow slipped away from them. I avoid talking politics with them as much as possible. It’s painful to hear them spout the FOX news line. To me, FOX promotes not so much movement conservatism as fear. It’s a very profitable racket for them.Report

  16. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    I wouldn’t completely blame FOX for hiring hot women while allowing old men on TV. That’s a bias in all of entertainment really. After all, Harrison Ford is still allowed to star in multi-million dollar films while the biggest female stars of the early 80’s are barely relevant.

    But, it is a bit striking even compared to CNN and MSNBC or your local news. Probably because FOX can afford to hire the “top-shelf” talent.Report

  17. Avatar M.A. says:

    Regarding the first three segments:

    – O’Reilly and Hannity, you’ve just summed up what 99% of my right wing talk radio examinations sounded like.
    – Van Susteren and the “Hot Blonde Rule”, three things give her immunity. One, when she started on TV back in 1994 she DID have that look (she’s since just gotten older); Two, she’s got that weird-facial-surgery-alien-eyes thing going; and Three, she and her husband are highly placed Scientologists with the level of protection the cult gives its senior celebrity recruiters.Report

    • Avatar M.A. says:

      Would Home Depot have survived if he’d tried to start it up when Obama was President? The answer: No! It would have crashed and burned, and Americans would be unable to complete even the simplest do it yourself project on their homes.

      I love this bit. Give me a Builder’s Square, a Lowe’s, an Ace Hardware, or a Menard’s. I’ll even take a True Value. If Home Depot closed their doors tomorrow all you’d get from me is a cheer because their service is crappy, selection crappier, and employees there generally don’t know which end of a screwdriver to hold on to. Home Depot is the Wal-Mart of hardware stores.Report

  18. Avatar North says:

    This was quite painful to read. I can’t imagine what it was like to watch.Report

  19. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Are these shows available On Demand or streaming online? I’d be interested in hearing folks with other ideological bents weigh in on the same program.Report

  20. Avatar Miss Mary says:

    Nerd 😉Report

  21. Avatar Kolohe says:

    This shows more than anything else why Fox news (and talk radio) (and maybe MSNBC when we get to that) are designed to be consumed in multiple minute doses over the period of months, not multiple hour doses over a single day.Report

  22. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    First, the premise is off: these aren’t news shows, they’re unapologetically opinion shows, infotainment. [The Fox News shows are Special Report with Bret Baier and The Fox Report with Shepard Smith, both of which are rated higher then Greta van Susteren, who is actually #6.]

    After the early crack about “Bush’s pie hole,” this reader lost confidence that what followed would be reliable and even-handed. Fair and balanced, if you will.

    And indeed, since there are precious few direct quotes, only jaundiced paraphrases, there is little probative value in this “study.” Since the author presumably had a rewind function, there is no real reason for the lack of direct quotes, without which it’s impossible to evaluate this essay.

    For the record, Dennis Miller has had a radio show for years, and is carried on over 300 stations. The segment on O’Reilly is a regular feature. He also tours his standup routine in places like Vegas, and seems to get an HBO comedy special whenever he’s in the mood to do one. Miller is far from the where-are-they-now file, and is more successful than most of his Saturday Night Live contemporaries.

    As for the Limbaugh segment on Greta, they seem to be pals and he’s a frequent guest by phone on her show. [I believe Greta’s the only one he does that for.] What you saw was not Fox being cheap.

    As for the rest, with the exception of actual public figures like Rand Paul, this is infotainment, and anyone who takes it all that seriously is not being serious.

    And for the record, the top MSNBC shows are Rachel Maddow, self-described socialist Lawrence O’Donnell and…wait for it…Al Sharpton. Take it away, Tod.Report

    • Avatar M.A. says:

      “No True Scotsman.”Report

    • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

      You’ve shot the messenger before he’s even left the stable.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        True, Ryan, because the premise is off. Nobody pretends Hannity isn’t 100% partisan. His original show was Hannity & Colmes, Hannity being the unapologetic right, Colmes the left. Hannity didn’t transform into Jim Lehrer with Colmes’ departure.

        But since Fox got no points for attempting such balance [although Greta was a defender of Clinton during the impeachment, as was Geraldo, who has a weekend show], they said screw it. Whatever gets ratings—although they did bid bye-bye to Glenn Beck.

        Now, I have no interest in playing defense for Fox, or in attacking MSNBC’s O’Donnell and Sharpton, who are indefensible. [Maddow seems OK, in my brief exposures, albeit afflicted with Jon Stewart Syndrome, terminal smugness.]

        But I had to look up the O’Reilly abortion story because I couldn’t make hide or hair of it from this account. A bill to ban gender-selection abortion was defeated in the House, you see.

        House Rejects Bill to Ban Sex-Selective Abortions

        Published: May 31, 2012
        WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday rejected a measure that sought to impose fines and prison terms on doctors who perform abortions on women who are trying to select the gender of their offspring — a practice known as sex-selective abortion.
        Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press
        Representative Diana DeGette opposed the bill.
        The legislation, which required two-thirds support to win passage under the fast-track procedure used to bring it to the floor, fell short on a vote of 246 to 168. Republicans did not anticipate that the legislation would pass, but saw it as an opportunity to force Democrats to vote on an issue with appeal among conservatives.

        “Today’s vote is a stunning declaration by supporters of abortion that they oppose any restrictions on abortion,” said Representative John Fleming, Republican of Louisiana.

        Democrats accused Republicans of contriving a vote on legislation to address a problem that does not exist.

        “I don’t support abortion for gender selection,” said Representative Diana DeGette, Democrat of Colorado and an opponent of the legislation. “I don’t know anyone who does. Maybe that’s because there is no problem in this country of abortion for gender selection.”

        Abortion-rights advocates, while pleased with the outcome, slammed Representative Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, for pushing forward with his bill, known as the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act. “Many of the bill’s supporters have rejected equal pay for women and have tried to slash funding for programs that serve women and children,” said Nancy Keenan, president of Naral Pro-Choice America.

        While there does not appear to be an extensive network of women seeking abortions in order to manage the race or gender makeup of their families, Mallory Quigley, a spokeswoman for the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, cited three studies that she said documented the use of sex-selective abortion, largely among a small number of women from various immigrant groups. “We’re confident there will be future votes and soon, on the issue,” Ms. Quigley said.

        O’Reilly’s guest’s side of the story is this [the source is a right-wing one]:

        Surprise! Major networks completely ignore Planned Parenthood sex-selection investigation
        Thu May 31, 2012 12:47 EST

        May 31, 2012 ( – There is nothing more predictable than networks burying negative news about Planned Parenthood.

        Pro-life organization Live Action recently came out with a disturbing video showing a Planned Parenthood staffer in Texas assisting a Live Action actor to obtain a sex-selection abortion. That practice is where a fetus is aborted if the child is discovered to be of a certain gender (usually female). The broadcast outlets have completely ignored the controversy: ABC, CBS, and NBC have not devoted a single second of their May 29 evening broadcasts and May 30 morning broadcasts to coverage of the recent Live Action videos.

        Left-wing outlets have gone into damage control, spinning the Live Action sting as a manufactured controversy. Jezebel called it a “terribly dumb sting operation,” and said “statistics do not indicate that the U.S. has a problem with sex selection abortions.” Think Progress claims Planned Parenthood quickly fired the employee responsible.

        However, the liberal Huffington Post interviewed a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman who asserted that “no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions.” In other words, Planned Parenthood will provide abortions for any reason, including for the purposes of eliminating a child of the “wrong” gender.

        The video comes as the House plans to vote on a bill prohibiting sex-selection abortion in the United States. Sex-selection abortion is unpopular; 77% of Americans oppose sex-selection abortion in the U.S., according to a recent poll by the Lozier Institute (a research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List).

        On May 29, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly did a segment with Lila Rose, the head of Live Action, on the findings in the video. Rose explained the shocking nature of Live Action’s findings: “If you watch the full tape, they go on for minutes. I mean, the whole counseling session’s fifteen minutes. They go on about the different ways to determine gender, the different ways to select for abortion, the ways to kill a little girl.”

        But such findings were not newsworthy, according to the networks.

        The Culture and Media Institute has documented how the broadcast networks buried previous Planned Parenthood-related scandals. It took CBS a week to report on the most spectacular of the scandals, the sex trafficking scandal. ABC took over 2 weeks to report on the story, and NBC never reported on it at all. Other scandals, such as Planned Parenthood getting caught falsely claiming that they provided mammograms, were never reported on by the networks.

        If the media’s past is any guide, this Live Action video will be buried as well.

        • Avatar M.A. says:

          As it turns out, the PP videos were another cutting room hack job that did not remotely resemble the story Live Action was trying to tell. I’d give you more links but I’d cross the 2-fer limit.

          Since Live Action has a history of offering up highly biased, heavily selectively edited videos based on contrived circumstances, I have no problem believing that news networks with a grain of integrity would be reluctant to run the “story” without the full facts and full video on hand.

          More pointedly, I find it disturbing to see how fast the logical mode switch can oscillate. In one breath the right wing is all about “liberty”, in the next they’re about making sure that women have the “right motive” for electing a 100% legal medical procedure with a side order of a shaming wand up the hoo-hoo.

          Last week, the Live Action videos were the talk of the right wing radio I’ve been examining. This week, when it’s been revealed what a chop-job they really are, none of the hosts will retract or reexamine, they just moved on to other subjects. I’ve counted two occasions where someone called in and tried to get the local hosts to address the topic, and I can’t recall any time I’ve heard the dump button smacked that fast.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:


      While you and I may consider these shows to be “infotainment”, what percentage of the viewers do? How many folks get there news from these types of shows on both Fox and MSNBC? That matters. A ton. Whether it works on us or not and whether we care to admit it or not, these folks, ALL these folks (not just the Foxxies… i’ve deliberately stayed out of any of the analysis here because it is quickly amounting to piling on and any value I would derive from Tod’s study would be in the comparison) inform minds and shape opinions of a not insigificant portion of our population. Maybe you and I don’t and shouldn’t take them seriously, but enough folks do that we can’t ijust dust them under the rug as they deserve.

      Also, Tod stipulated at the onset tha this was non-scientific and that he wasn’t wholly ubiased. This itself is infotainment :-).Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        So is my rebuttal. 😉Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:


          While there was humor baked into my comment, there was also a serious point/query that I was hoping to get your take on. I’d appreciate if you could respond to that part with an equal seriousness.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            What is your question, Kaz? Are Fox’s opinion shows any less “balanced” than the LATimes’ op-ed pages? I certainly don’t think so. The NYT, with 8 lefties and 2 rather impotent righties?

            I think it’s all fine, BTW. People listen to opinions, keep what they like and leave the rest.

            One thing I have heard is that MSNBC has far fewer righty guests than Fox has lefty ones. That’s worth a check and should be quantifiable. As for the lack of direct quotes here, that remains my biggest objection. I have found lefties paraphrasing righties to be of negative value. [And I suppose vice-versa.]Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              How many folks view infotainment shows as genuine news show? With them in mind, can we really just dismiss them as harmless infotainment when they shape real minds and opinions?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                I’m not dismissing them. I’m saying people can tell the difference between Bret Baier and Hannity. And I’m also saying that the mainstream media skips over or minimizes a lot of real stories–like the fact that gender-based abortion is a real phenomenon. [77% of Americans are against, said one article.]

                So although the GOP was indeed pulling a stunt in bring a ban up for a vote, it does show that the Dems are in thrall to the abortion absolutists, and will not vote to ban a practice a rarely-seen majority of Americans find abhorrent.

                That’s a helluva lot more important to me than Mitt Romney’s dog. Sir.

                So how serious do you want to get? My original critique was on the formal level, that I could not tell what was on these shows based on the descriptions and paraphrases here. I grabbed the first issue, and found something very different than this essay led me to expect. I have zero doubt that the mainstream media will bury Planned Parenthood’s complicity in gender-based abortions—which I’m confident is far more widespread than an isolated incident or two—and will make zero effort to investigate this on their own, because they will not look for what they do not want to find.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                gender-based abortion is a real phenomenon


              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Answered infra, NYT. If there’s nothing else, I’ve had my say.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                I don’t believe that NYT article establishes the prevalence of gender-based abortion. If you could quote the exact statement that does so, I’d appreciate it.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                I do think it establishes the phenomenon. If you think it doesn’t exist, you won’t mind banning it just to make sure.

                As for the rest of your requests, I’m afraid I don’t enjoy this game where you issue a one-sentence challenge and I do all the work. If you want to do some research and hold up your end of a discussion, fine.

                As for ethical complicity in gender-based abortion, you spin first, why it’s not.

                Otherwise, Ryan, please let me go. I’ve had my say, I rest my case.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                Tom, you made the claims! If you’re going to say “X happens”, the least you can do is demonstrate that X, in fact, happens. How exactly do you think argumentation works, guy?

                Now, look, I did my research. I read the NYT article you linked. The authors of the study cite in vitro, sperm sorting, and abortion all as potential causes of the difference in birth rates by sex, without picking one of them. The article then discusses firms that provide sex selection services targeted to Indian and Chinese clients, but those firms explicitly don’t provide abortions. Then we get two doctors who discourage sex selective abortions for their clients. At no point in the article is there a single instance of anyone actually choosing to abort due to sex. I’m not saying it’s definitely not happening; I’m asking you to demonstrate that it is happening. We haven’t established a single case, let alone a widespread phenomenon.

                As for ethical complicity, I think James has it largely right. It isn’t Planned Parenthood’s job to ask why women are having abortions. They don’t exist to second guess women or make their lives harder by forcing them to outline the reasons for their decisions. At the risk of drawing a fraught analogy, your position it like saying a gun dealer is complicit if I buy a gun from him and then shoot my wife to death. Do you believe that gun dealer is complicit?Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                Also, I don’t want to be petty, but man. You can’t rest a case you haven’t even made. You just threw out assertions, demanded I disprove them, and decided to walk away.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                The gun dealer should ask why you want the gun, and if you tell him you plan to shoot your wife, he should refuse to sell to you. It works like this.

                Dealer: What do you plan to do with this gun?
                Buyer: Well I’m definitely not going to shoot my wife (wink, wink).
                Dealer: OK, then, that will be $550, please.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                I disagree on both counts, Ryan. The mainstream media certainly isn’t going to investigate gender-based abortions any further, I’m confident in saying. Yes, there can be additional factors at work such as sperm sorting, but you’re never going to get to 100%.

                And I cannot disagree more with your ethical reasoning.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:


                My understanding of Planned Parenthood’s official position is that they would refuse to perform an abortion if you stated that you were doing so for sex-selection. Am I incorrect?


                I’m finished with this. I’ve taken it upon myself to try to be nice to you, but I’m not going to keep engaging someone who is so determined to fight unfairly. I’ve tried; I’ve failed; I surrender.Report

              • Avatar M.A. says:

                What other motivations for abortion would you like to ban? How many more times does a woman have to have a giant dildo shoved up her hoo-hoo before you think she’s serious about wanting the procedure?

                What happens if she feels it’s not the right time in her life to have a child?
                What happens if she and the husband have broken up or, worse yet, he was abusive?
                What happens if she’s got a family history of serious illness and doesn’t want to pass it to a child?
                What happens if she got pregnant in a one night stand and her parents will disown her for having a child out of wedlock?

                Where do you draw the line? More importantly, why are you so interested in making sure she has the “right” motives?

                There are all sorts of awful reasons to get an abortion. There are also all sorts of awful reasons to get pregnant.

                I know where this goes. First it’s “we have to pass a law making sure they have the right reasons.” Then it’s “well we have to have a psych test and some form of lie detection to make sure she was telling the truth about the reasons.” Then it’s interviewing family members or friends, or a background check, or some other humiliation other than the giant dildo up the hoo-hoo before they are allowed to get the procedure. Maybe we can insist that they provide a reference sheet of 25 friends and family, all of who have to be called and asked “Did you know Susie McGill is pregnant? Did you know she is considering Abortion, which is Evil and Wrong and she’ll be Damned For Life? What do you think her motives are?”

                I’m going to make a simple statement here: I don’t think the state has any valid interest in asking a woman what her motive is before a legal medical procedure. I invite you to come up with one that doesn’t involve sticking a fake sky spirit’s ghostwritten book into someone else’s life.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                See, I even spotted him “sex selective abortions are bad”. Dude doesn’t know how good he had it.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                I don’t know their actual policies, but I do know if they have a policy against sex-selection abortions they’ll just get lied to. That means if they do have such a policy, it’s primarily symbolic, not a policy they could effectively enforce, except against people too naive or dumb to know when to lie. I’m not real fond of policies like that.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Well, it was more like those old westerns where they shot at the guy’s feet to make him “dance.” It wasn’t all that nice, Ryan.

                And the GOP and pro-lifers are definitely exploiting this chink in the armor, that 77% of Americans oppose gender-selection abortion. It opens the door for a whole new reflection on the moral reasoning behind “choice.”

                All choices are not equal in the eyes of the American public, regardless of what the “between a woman and her doctor” absolutists say.

                And BTW, I gather the bill didn’t address the woman, but the doctor, which at last is the correct approach. The woman may have certain rights, but is there a constitutional right to perform abortions?Report

              • Avatar M.A. says:

                And BTW, I gather the bill didn’t address the woman, but the doctor, which at last is the correct approach. The woman may have certain rights, but is there a constitutional right to perform abortions?

                On May 31, 2009, someone using exactly that line of reasoning shot George Tiller in cold blood.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                The woman may have certain rights, but is there a constitutional right to perform abortions?

                You have a constitutional right to counsel in a criminal trial, but is there a constitutional right for a lawyer to represent an accused person?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Dunno if it holds, but not a bad argument. I would sooner compare it to doctors performing mutilations at the patient’s request.


              • Avatar M.A. says:

                Still waiting for that valid state interest in the woman’s motives. Does anyone have any?Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                On May 31, 2009, someone using exactly that line of reasoning shot George Tiller in cold blood.

                So George Tiller was shot because his actions were unconstitutional? And his murderer held to the doctrine that everything unconstitutional should be punished by death?

                You logic here is really quite poor. Tiller was murdered because he was thought to be a murderer. Not because he was thought to lack a constitutional right for what he was doing.

                Note that I’m pro-choice. But I’m also pro-logic and strongly in favor of thinking clearly.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                the mainstream media skips over or minimizes a lot of real stories–like the fact that gender-based abortion is a real phenomenon.

                I have zero doubt that the mainstream media will bury Planned Parenthood’s complicity in gender-based abortions—

                That’s something of a leap, from “some people make gender-based abortion decisions” to “Planned Parenthood is complicit in gender-based abortion decisions.”

                The factual truth of the first claim does not demonstrate that the second is also true. And since Tod wrote, “Planned Parenthood actually has a policy against gender based abortions [and] the employee in question was not defended [but] terminated,” I’m wondering what evidence the second claim is based on.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                I should add that if Planned Parenthood provides gender-based abortions on a basis of not actively denying a woman an abortion based on gender then they are not, IMO, complicit. Intentions for abortions are not their business, else they get into the business of judging which women are worthy of their services, and far from preventing gender-based abortion decisions would just be incentivizing women to lie about their reasons. If PP were encouraging gender-based abortions, that would be a different story.Report

              • Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark says:


              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                You said: “As for the rest, with the exception of actual public figures like Rand Paul, this is infotainment, and anyone who takes it all that seriously is not being serious.”

                My belief is that there exist a great many persons, not your or I, but still a great many, who take all this infotainment quite seriously, who don’t or can’t differentiate between Baier and Hannity, between news and opinion. They see O’Reilly stating that Planned Parenthood is on board with gender-based abortion. This is false. But if they view O’Reilly as an honest newsman, they might very well believe that. And this might very well shape their broader views and voting patterns and etc, etc, etc. And, whether your and I consider them to be serious, their vote and their efforts count all the same.

                So my question is… what do we make of the fact that these infotainers are influential people? Doesn’t a critique like Tod’s have value in that it might expose infotainers for what they are… infotainers… and thus limit the extent of their influence?

                Please know that I have the same issue with infotainers of all stripes. I am only using conservatives as an example here because that is the information readily available via Tod’s post. I don’t think people should get their news or have their views shaped by Bill Maher. But they are. And, as such, it is irresponsible to insist that he’s “just” an infotainer and we shoudn’t be bothered with him.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Kaz, I think O’Reilly’s essentially right, and even if he weren’t, he’s entitled to a wrong opinion. In this case, although Planned Parenthood is “officially” against gender-based abortion, that’s not worth a bucket of warm spit because they don’t counsel against it and they perform the abortion anyway.

                And considering some of the distortions of the other fellow’s positions that happen even here in our own august halls, it seems unavoidable out there in the toy department of entertainment.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Would it be fair for me to dismiss anyone who gets their news from O’Reilly or Schultz as lacking in seriousness?

                I ask based on this statement of yours: “As for the rest, with the exception of actual public figures like Rand Paul, this is infotainment, and anyone who takes it all that seriously is not being serious.”Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                I think it’s all good, Kaz. I see no alternative to people getting their news wherever they choose.



                Knock yrself out. I’ve never found MM particularly devasting, often calling spin or differences of opinion “falsehoods.” Newsbusters I like [natch].

                Ed Schultz Lurches From Panic to Incoherence Over Wisconsin Recall
                By: Jack Coleman | June 04, 2012 | 19:16

                What a difference 48 hours makes in the barren wasteland known as Ed Schultz’s mind.

                Back on May 29, Schultz warned of giant flaming acorns falling from the sky if Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker prevailed in a June 5 recall election against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who was defeated by Walker in the 2010 gubernatorial race. (audio clips after page break)

                OK, unfair, I know, a guilty pleasure I’ll confess to. “The barren wasteland known as Ed Schultz’s mind” is a little much, I know.

                But comparable to “Bush’s pie hole,” esp since Bush was a president and Schultz is only Schultz, which was sort of my point from the first…Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                You’re losing me. Your initial claim was that Tod giving these guys the “Newsbusters” treatment was a false starting point because they are in the opinion business, not the news business. You said that folks that take them seriously ought not be taken seriously themselves.

                Then you quote Newsbusters going after Schultz.

                I will make my point as clearly as I can and hopefully you will respond. Let’s make this a two way street.

                I agree that many of these folks engage non-seriously in “news”. They are more interested in hearing themselves talk or ratings or pushing buttons or whathaveyou than they are in good, honest reporting. However, many, many folks consider them to be engaged in good, honest reporting and take them at their word. This leads to many folks have serious opinions based on non-serious work. I believe the best way to combat this is to expose them for their silliness. As Todd did here. And as NB did in the quote you provided. You seem bothered by the former, not so by the latter. This seems inconsistent.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Kaz, I was delineating “news” shows from opinion shows. That their fans [Fox or MSNBC] think the opinion shows are news isn’t so. What was the OP’s opening premise?

                Whenever I have start these conversations, I can be reasonably sure of two things:

                1. Conservatives will claim that FOXNews is in no way a GOP shill.

                2. Liberals will claim that MSNBC is no way biased, or if so will use the “false equivalent” line when MSNBC is compared to FOX.

                I believe I’ve been completely logical about the whole affair, captain. I think their fans know they’re biased, or more accurately hide their POV in plain sight.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                Um… Tom, you know that’s the name of the network, right?

                FOX is the one with American Idol, FOXNews Business is the one with the constant ticker tape, and FOXNews is the ones with the shows I watched, yes?

                When I said I was watching FOXNews, I wasn’t making a commentary of the content of the station – I was calling it by it’s name. Just like I won’t refer to MSNBC as ‘MS_BC’ because I’m making a comment about how news worthy it is or isn’t. That’s it’s name.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                How can you say definitively that fans don’t take opinion shows for news? Not only are there individuals, but there are other news outlets that cite infotainers as sources. Unless, of course, those other news outlets themselves are infotainers, at which point the snake has thoroughly digested its tale. But, yes, I do know people who will say, “X is true. I saw it on O’Reilly/Olberman/Maher/Hannity. And that is why you can’t/must vote for Obama.”


                Isn’t the N in MSNBC for “National”?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Um, Tod, you wrote: “Which is correct? I have the suspicion that each is incorrect, at least when it comes to their cable TV news shows. But honestly, I can’t really say for certain. I don’t have much respect for TV news in general, and because of that I don’t really watch much of it.”

                You didn’t make a distinction between the opinion shows and the news shows, which are Bret Baier and Shep Smith. Further, my larger point is that Fox watchers know the difference: the anchors point it out from time to time.

                In fact, there’s quite a problem at MSNBC in the eyes of many, that their opinion people like Maddow and Matthews anchor news coverage of primaries and conventions. Now THERE’s an improper blending of news and opinion.

                Fox has taken great pains to use Baier and Kelly as anchors when the occasion calls for it, whereas MSNBC hasn’t just blurred, but obliterated that line.

                MSNBC finally “demoted” Matthews and Olbermann after they got done ruining the 2008 GOP convention, but in 2012, went back to obliterating the line with the Iowa Caucuses.

                Fox News (8 p.m. – 11 p.m.) Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly will anchor. Carl Cameron, Steve Brown, Shannon Bream, and John Roberts will contribute. A post-show will be hosted by Sean Hannity, followed by a second show, hosted by Greta Van Susteren. Fox Business Network, by the way, will have Neil Cavuto anchoring a show that features appearances from Herman Cain and Donald Trump.

                MSNBC (6 p.m – midnight): Rachel Maddow will be the main anchor. Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Rev. Al Sharpton will contribute. Chris Hayes will host the post-show.


              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                See, I’m having a hard time buying this. THe shows that I watched had “reporters.” They referred to their segments as “stories.” You yourself point to things they talk about with the terms they are “covering” those stories.

                I completely agree that what I watched was not proper journalism. But this line that it doesn’t pretend to be, and that people don’t take it’s content and assume it to be researched, reported news seems like a having your cake and eating it too excuse. And it’s especially baffling to me that you follow it up with the whole “Not like those shills over at MSNBC!” thing.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Tod, I watch the same shows. Fox’s reporters are kept separate*. Kaz, ’tis you making an assertion that the viewers can’t tell the difference between news and opinion shows, hence you have incurred the burden of proof.

                You’ve also asked me to prove a negative, which of course I can’t. And I think it’s fine that people get their news from Bill Maher, sort of. I’d rather they use Rachel Maddow. Ed Schultz is a push. And as you know, many people seem to get their news from Jon Stewart. I don’t even want to go near that one.

                *Carl Cameron, Wendell Goler, Catherine Herridge, Jennifer Griffin, Brian Wilson, etc. These folks do not appear on the Fox opinion shows. They do have a Chinese wall over there.

                And BTW, my objection to MSNBC having Rachel Maddow anchor news events stands. O’Reilly, Hannity, etc. do not.Report

              • Avatar Liberty60 says:

                Fox News has a Chinese wall separating news from opinion?

                You meant Maginot Line, right?

                As in a fortification which gives the illusion of being impenetrable, but in fact is worthless and ineffectual?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                “Suffolk offered 28 different TV news personalities for poll takers to decide from on the trust question. As a result, the results were in single digits.
                But of the top 10 most trusted new sources, O’Reilly is king, at 9 percent. CNN’s Anderson Cooper followed at 6 percent, Fox’s Mike Huckabee at 4 percent, Fox’s Sean Hannity at 4 percent, Wolf Blitzer was sixth at 3 percent, followed by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews at 3 percent, NBC newsman Tom Brokaw at 3 percent, CBS anchor Katie Couric at 3 percent and ABC’s Diane Sawyer at 3 percent.”


                Folks look to cable news in general and folks like O’Reill specifically as their “most trusted” news source.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Kaz, most of the facts are stipulated; it’s the spin and selectivity that’s the issue. For instance, Drudge doesn’t link to World Net Daily—he finds the truth buried in the 10th paragraph of an NYT story.

                Indeed when I link around here, it’s always to sources the center-left reader will find acceptable, otherwise I’m wasting their time and mine.

                I think there’s a strong misperception here, and it begins with the delineation of news and opinion: Fox news shows use the same facts everybody else does. they have only a handful of reporters, and break very few things that the other media don’t already have.

                So too, a Hannity [or a Limbaugh] is going to be taken to the Media matters cleaners if they punt a fact or factoid. The long knives are out for them, just as if I blow a single factoid here, I’m gonna get the death penalty for it.

                Oh, TVD was wrong about X, therefore he can’t be trusted, never believe a thing he says.

                Yes, I’m wrong at least once a year, and do not think for a moment that it’s not used to attempt to discredit me as a thinker, a writer and a human being. Well, that’s Fox, that’s O’Reilly, hannity. Especially Limbaugh, who BTW, prints transcripts of every show so that he can’t be unfairly paraphrased, and at the bottom of every riff are links to the mainstream news sources where he gets his source material.

                Look at what they did and do to the guy for getting hooked on oxycontin—even though he’s never been a big drug warrior and therefore a hypocrite.

                The more we exchange on this, the stronger I feel about my objections—to be a gentleperson of the right in the media is to be Caesar’s Wife, no doubt about it.


                DAVID BROOKS: To some extent you have to feel sorry for him. This is, in large degree, (snickers) not his fault. Things are happening way beyond his control.

                MARK SHIELDS: (whispering) It’s true.

                DAVID BROOKS: I don’t think a president has control over a quarterly economy in any case. But the… the European situation is certainly not his fault. The Chinese slowdown is not his fault. Obama has really very little control and he’s a victim of this myth that presidents control the economy quarter to quarter.

                RUSH: Mr. Brooks, have you no shame? That’s David Brooks of the New York Times. It’s not his fault? Then why did the crease in his pants back in 2008 convince you that he would be the best president ever? Oh, now he doesn’t have control! He can’t do anything about it! (This is the “conservative” on the show, by the way.) He can’t do anything about quarterly economics, can’t do anything about Europe. By the way, speaking of Europe: Obama blamed our economic problems on Europe!

                He has also advised Europe not to reduce spending, not to cut spending. And the ChiComs? Obama craves the ChiComs! Obama loves the ChiComs. He’s been pointing to China with lesson after lesson after lesson that we could learn. Now they’re feeling sorry for him.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                You make this impossible. I have engaged you fairly and sincerely. I answered your request head on, to show that folks don’t or can’t differentiate between news and opinion. When a poll shows that cable news, rife with “infotainment”, and opinion shows hosted by infotainers are the most trusted source for news, I think it is fair to conclude that many people don’t regard them as you and I do. However we define them, they are major players in the news and information market. As such, any and all criticism of them in failing to meet the standards for major players in the news and information market are valid (not inherently correct or accurate, but valid to offer). You seem to have offered a bit of a moving target, arguing simultaneously that they are infotainers who shouldn’t be taken seriously or criticized as Tod did here but ohbytheway they are spot on in their reporting and are being unfairly maligned because of their ideology. While it is possible that both of these are true, it is unfair to respond to a point on one of the angles with a counterpoint from the other.

                As it stands, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Greta Van Sustern are highy influential members of the news media, hosting shows on the highest rated cable news channel. It is completely fair game to criticize them when they fail to meet the requisite standards for someone in their position, as Tod did here. I fully expect him to give the same treatment to the MSNBC folks, as I believe his broader critique is of partisan cable news in general, and not any one specific channel or personality.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Kazzy-‘Tis you who make this impossible. And I have engaged you fairly and sincerely. Your central implication is that the Great Unwashed are stupid and listen to O’Reilly as if he’s gospel truth, that they cannot tell news from opinion.

                You can’t back up that assertion of course—and honestly, I don’t see how you could—but basically, you’ve put a poison pill in this, and it’s obvious to the unbiased reader.

                This is a formal objection, not one on content. I have no doubt some people take Bill O’Reilly as their most trusted news source; some take Rachel Maddow [of whom I have not spoken ill]. So be it.

                I can tell the difference between Bret Baier [news] and Sean Hannity [opinion]. I submit most Fox viewers can too. This returns once again to my very first objection raised to the OP.

                I’m glad O’Reilly “broke” the story on gender-selection abortion. It appears the other media followed a few days later [did you catch that comment?]. I think it’s all good. I’m a “let a 1000 flowers bloom” kinda guy.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                So what is your chief criticism? Opinionators are above the type of criticism Tod offered here? Or that the criticism was inaccurate? I see roo to argue the latter but struggle to see a basis for the former. Outside of your asserting that they are known infotainers, I struggle to see why Tod’s entire premise is flawed from the onset.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                “Above” was the wrong word. I meant that unserious infotainers shouldn’t be submitted to serious analysis and criticism.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                Oh, good. This again.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Kazzy, I’ll give you a dollar if you state my point fairly.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                I’ll give you $10 if yoi do. I’m not playing this game. I’ve quoted you directly, twice. If I’ve still misstated your point, it is becaise younhave communicated it poorly. If you refuse to state your point clearly and succinctly, I will assume it is because you lack a clear, succicnt, consistent point on this matter, and are instead quibbling for the sake of quibbling and based your objections on purely partisan lines.Report

            • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

              Is Tod Kelly a lefty now?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                “* I do not identify with any party or commonly identified political philosophy, and those that have read me before know that I think principled pragmatism is the best way to muddle through the infinite complexities that make up human interaction. That being said, it would be a lie to suggest I am unbiased. I clearly have greater antipathy toward today’s movement conservatism than I do today’s progressive movement.”

                Tod understates his antipathy by several orders of magnitude, in my view. 😉Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                Does antipathy toward the conservative movement make one a lefty?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Usually, not always. Some people hate both sides enough to burn their vote on third and fourth parties. In Tod’s case, admitting he hates one side more than the other is enough to render the veracity of his paraphrases and accounts questionable.

                Does that make him a lefty? I think assuredly so, but even if he doesn’t think so, you’re asking a question that doesn’t really matter here: even if he reviews MSNBC with the same technique of caustic paraphrases, my formal objection to the method will be the same. Only direct quotes—in context—are probative.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                Is it impossible in your world to be part of the political center?

                Also, for someone who makes totally unsupported claims about gender-based abortion to accuse others of poor methodology in the exact same thread is pretty bold.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                The phenomenon is addressed infra, Ryan, NYT, Huffington Post. And yes, Planned Parenthood is complicit by staying neutral and performing abortions regardless of the reason [including gender selection]. No thorough ethical reasoning can conclude otherwise.

                Now it’s starting to get unpleasant and personal, I’ve had my say, and my objections both formal and substantive about the OP stand. Thx for the conversation. If Tod objects to my alluding to him as a lefty, he can take it up with me personally. His canon and choice of subjects and targets suggests otherwise to me, but I’ll consider withdrawing the observation if we kick it round a bit.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                I’m still waiting for you to provide a specific piece of evidence that confirms your claim.

                And, now that we’ve gone down that road, I’m going to need you to support the claim that “no thorough ethical reasoning can conclude otherwise”. Let’s pretend we’re in math class: show your work, please.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                Tom, did you miss the part where Tod said he was doing Fox today and MSNBC in a few days?Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                I don’t particularly care what label people use for me. I long ago resigned myself that no matter how I describe myself, people will label me as they wish. Them’s just the breaks in the easily sortable, bi-chromatic world we live in.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                “Bush’s pie hole?” Balancing that one back to center will take some doing. Part Deux is anxiously awaited.Report

        • Avatar Jeff says:

          No, only “tainment”.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        Not one of the major networks has reported on gender-based abortion? If so, that’s one reason you need to watch Fox News, if you’re to be a fully rounded consumer of news. In fact, I hadn’t heard any of this until I was spurred by the hatchet job study here on O’Reilly.

        To their credit, the NYT has been on it. [Although I’m not sure if this appeared nationally or just in the New York edition.]

        In general, more boys than girls are born in the United States, by a ratio of 1.05 to 1. But among American families of Chinese, Korean and Indian descent, the likelihood of having a boy increased to 1.17 to 1 if the first child was a girl, according to the Columbia economists. If the first two children were girls, the ratio for a third child was 1.51 to 1 — or about 50 percent greater — in favor of boys.

        Studies have not detected a similar preference for males among Japanese-Americans.

        The findings published by Professors Almond and Edlund were bolstered this year by the work of a University of Texas economist, Prof. Jason Abrevaya. He found that on the basis of census and birth records through 2004, the incidence of boys among immigrant Chinese parents in New York was higher than the national average for Chinese families. Boys typically account for about 515 of every 1,000 births. But he found that among Chinese New Yorkers having a third child, the number of boys was about 558.Report

        • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

          So… if you want anti-abortion reports based loosely on the available evidence, you should watch Fox? In what way does this not support all of the things Tod has said here?Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            I didn’t even know of the issue until Tod mentioned it via O’Reilly. And none of this supports anything Tod says here because it’s all paraphrase. It may be true, might not. There’s no way to tell from paraphrases.

            Hell, what people write here @ LoOG is sometimes terribly distorted even when it’s sitting right there in cyberblack and white.Report

        • Avatar joey jo jo says:

          maybe no one brought it up because it’s a manufactured “scandal”?
          tom, are you cokie roberts in drag? once fox reports on something “it’s out there” and then everyone should report on it. jeebus.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

      See, here’s what I don’t get.

      The standard defense of everything right-wing is that it’s merely entertainment. Everything! It’s almost as if there aren’t any straight-up informative conservative programs out there.

      And even if we were to compare apples to apples — are the facts at all this sloppy in a typical Jon Stewart segment? We can all tell when he starts to exaggerate, I presume. Conservative infotainment, insofar as I can stand the stuff, seems intent on blurring the line as much as it possibly can. And it appears to be the only thing that conservatives use to become — for want of a better word — informed.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Now you’re a lefty, too. I always suspected as much.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        It’s almost as if there aren’t any straight-up informative conservative programs out there.

        That’s the fact, JasonK. Again, the only Fox news shows are Bret Baier and Shep Smith, and possibly Megyn Kelly’s, which I cannot answer for since I don’t see it.

        And Fox News is so understaffed that seldom do its correspondents do much more than “me too” the prevailing news and narrative of the day. The closest they get to an “expose” is something like a Stossel doing a Jay Leno on the street about food stampers owning TV’s, which is admittedly a failed riff.Report

  23. Avatar Jeff says:

    I truly feel for you.

    I think that by sampling Fox first, MSNBC will be easier. [1] You’ll be a bit more used to the “non-discussion” type of conversations these shows have. [2] You’ll be a bit more used to the hyper-partisanship on these shows.

    That said, I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by the MSNBC shows (and would have been even if Keith Olberman were still in the mix).

    It’s too bad you didn’t tape the McNeal-Lehrer Report the same night. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on that program as well.Report

  24. Avatar b-psycho says:

    I remember an old commercial for Olbermann’s show before he left from the Bush era that tried to poke fun at/diss their competitors. The one referencing Fox News showed some fat old guy indignantly saying something about the problem with critics of “our COMMANDER in CHIEF!”

    Swap the parties and that’s what MSNBC is. They’re Fox for Dems. CNN is just confused.

    I used to leave one of the 24-hour channels on in the background at random in case something to blog about came by while nothing else was on TV. Nowadays I just leave the TV off. U.S. news is overwhelmingly sensationalist garbage & shameless parroting of the government talking points/blatant lies of the day, I gained nothing but headaches even bothering to follow it halfway.Report

  25. Avatar Jeff says:

    The one referencing Fox News showed some fat old guy indignantly saying something about the problem with critics of “our COMMANDER in CHIEF!”

    Swap the parties and that’s what MSNBC is. They’re Fox for Dems. CNN is just confused.

    You don’t think there’s ANY criticism of Obama on MSNBC? We’ll see in Tod’s next post, but I doubt it.Report

    • Avatar b-psycho says:

      What little of it I hear about is along the lines of “Obama is going about promoting/moving forward (policy the person speaking supports) the wrong way”. Don’t recall hearing significant “Obama is doing (policy that his base would cry bloody murder about if a Republican had done it)” or “Obama’s policy on (important issue) is Wrong, and here’s why”.Report

  26. Avatar Maribou says:

    Thank y0u for simultaneously:
    – bringing back fond memories of when Jay and our friend Derek used to watch and argue about the O’Reilly Factor before wrestling came on
    – reminding me of why I usually gave 90 percent of my attention to whatever epic fantasy novel I was in the middle of while they watched it
    – recounting your viewing experience with honesty and wit

    I can’t wait for the MSNBC sequel! 🙂Report

  27. Avatar Markahuna says:

    I think that the words journalism, journalist, journalistic, etc. should require quotes when referring to “journalists” or “journlaism” that present 1/2 hour, 1 hour or 24 hour “NEWS”.Report