Fox News host Bill Hemmer tried to shout down Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-MD) criticism of the GOP budget on Tuesday morning by loudly reading from Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) editorial promoting the newly-released Republican plan.
Hemmer dismissed Van Hollen’s claims that Ryan’s proposal would benefit the richest Americans while severely underfunding programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps as “talking points” and claimed that the plan would make the government “healthier.”
Then, as Van Hollen explained that steep cuts in spending would undermine job growth, Hemmer proceeded to angrily read from Ryan’s Wall Street Journal opinion piece. Watch it:
At the end of the contentious segment, Van Hollen criticized Hemmer, saying, “reading a Wall Street Journal article by Paul Ryan on the air, I mean, I don’t see how that is a fair and balanced approach, but I appreciate you being honest.”
When his 3-year-old daughter discovered that the girl character in Donkey Kong, Pauline, could only sit distressed and wait for a male character to help her, Mika decided to do something about it. So, The Verge reports, he hacked the popular game to make Pauline a functional character, and the male character, Mario, became the damsel (or, lord?) in distress:
Thankfully Mika happens to be a competent developer, and after a few late-night hours spent hacking the NES version of Nintendo’s classic, he accomplished the role reversal his daughter had wished for. Mario was now under Donkey Kong’s control, and Pauline was tasked with rescuing the plumber in distress. Following the successful endeavor, Mika shared some details of how he swapped the characters on a YouTube page demonstrating the hack. “I’ve redrawn Mario’s frames and I swapped the palettes in the ROM,” he wrote. “I replaced the M at the top with a P for Pauline.”
Mika uploaded this video on YouTube to demonstrate how it worked:
Technological hacks for thinking about and subverting gender barriers are gaining in popularity. Another father recently did a gender swap for the game Zelda. And a recent invention, a Google Chrome browser extension called “Jailbreak The Patriarchy,” swaps the gender pronouns on websites to show how gender dynamics affect our views of the world.
Conservative media fixture James O’Keefe rose to stardom in 2009 after posting an undercover video supposedly showing employees of the now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) agreeing to help him smuggle underage prostitutes into the US. The video circulated widely in the conservative blogosphere, where activists saw the clip as proof that ACORN, a major force in community organizing and voter registration drives, was corrupt. O’Keefe’s sting destroyed ACORN’s reputation and the employee, Juan Carlos Vera, was fired.
By filming Vera, O’Keefe may have violated a state law against secret recordings of an individual’s voice and image. Though he was granted immunity from criminal prosecution after turning over the raw videos to the California attorney general’s office, Vera and other ACORN employees sued O’Keefe privately:
In the settlement, O’Keefe says that before the video was shown on TV or posted on the Web, he was unaware of Vera’s assertion that he had called the police to report O’Keefe and Giles for proposing an illegal act. [...] The lawsuit was filed on the assertion that O’Keefe broke a state law prohibiting the surreptitious recording of someone’s voice and image.
O’Keefe’s other videos have been exposed as either complete lies or deceptively edited. ThinkProgress reported last year that O’Keefe’s attempt to expose voter fraud by non-citizens actually featuredUS citizens. The conservative activist has also been arrested for trying to bug a Senator’s phone. In his ACORN pimp sting, O’Keefe deceptively edited in the famous pimp costume later, though he actually wore a suit and tie at the ACORN office.
O’Keefe’s settlement is the latest blow to the credibility of conservative media. Breitbart.com made a stir by accusing now-confirmed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel of taking money from a shadowy organization with the outlandish name “Friends of Hamas” — a group that turned out to be fictional. Soon after, allegations by the Daily Caller that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) had hired a prostitute turned out to be entirely fabricated. The fake scandal had also been shopped around to the New York Post and the Star-Ledger Time, but neither could find any evidence to publish the story. Larger conservative media outlets like the Drudge Report, however, enthusiastically amplified these stories with little or no scrutiny.
Despite the payment, O’Keefe is refusing to back down. In a statement, he absolves himself of any liability, saying, “The settlement admits no liability and there is no benefit from extending this ridiculous lawsuit…Sadly, this is the cost of exposing the truth.”
On Tuesday night, over the course of three hours, two different men asked me if I could defend the term ‘mansplain.’ Why was it, they both (yes, separately) wanted to know, so different from just being a regular old condescending asshole? So I launched into my usual spiel about the patriarchy, and how men explain things with the assumption that women are stupid, and the privilege that underlies every interaction in which a man expects a woman to know nothing.
Then Wednesday morning, another man asked me the same question.
If the goal of feminism (and, particularly, young feminists on the internet) is to create an inclusive conversation where we can get to the root of systematic behavior that suppresses the ability of women to succeed, then inventing our own terminology — or at least the word ‘mansplain’ — has failed. I’ve spent more time defending and defining the term than using it. And even as it serves to define a certain type of assholeishness, it undermines our understanding of the other forms of privilege.
The concept of mansplaining most likely originated in a 2008 LA Times article titled, “Men Who Explain Things To Me,” in which the author, Rebecca Solnit, recounted the story of a man encouraging her to read a seminal work in Solnit’s field. It turned out to be a book that Solnit herself had written. From there, the portmanteau of “mansplaining” became a sensation among feminists on the internet. It came to define, broadly, when a man speaks to a woman with the assumption that the she knows less than he does about a given topic, even when it’s painfully obvious that she knows more.
As intuitive as that definition might seem, the term is still used wrongly all the time. I’ve heard someone say one man is “mansplaining” to another. I’ve heard someone say that they would “mansplain” something manly — jock itch, beard hair — to me.
Even the New York Times, when it decided that “mansplaining” was in the running for the “word of the year” in 2010, defined the term incorrectly by leaving out the fact that a mansplainer is assuming that a woman knows less than he: Read more
The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward appeared on Fox News’ Hannity on Thursday evening to complain about National Economic Council director Gene Sperling’s email disputing his characterization of the White House’s role in shaping the mechanism known as the sequester — the automatic across-the-board budget cuts that will go into effect on Friday.
Over the weekend Woodward claimed that the White House was trying “to move the goalposts” by replacing sequestration with a deficit reduction package that includes new revenues, a notion Sperling disputed in emails with the famed Watergate journalist. “I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post,” Sperling wrote to Woodward. “I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.”
During his interview with Sean Hannity, Woodward claimed that he had been “roughed up” by Sperling and agreed with the host’s characterization of the Washington journalists as liberals who are disinterested in challenging the president with Bill Ayers, an education advocate who was part of the group the Weather Underground:
HANNITY: The fact that the president was never asked a lot about the 6 trillion in debt that he accumulated prior to this election, in this first election wasn’t asked about his association with Bill Ayers was troublesome to me, I think we’ve got a media that’s not as critical as perhaps it once was in, for example, the days of Watergate.
WOODWARD: Well, I agree with that. We need to be very aggressive and it’s one of the judges that said democracies die in darkness and I really think that’s true.
Obama’s alleged connections to Ayers were covered extensively throughout the 2008 presidential campaign. Obama was even asked about the story during the Democratic Party primary debate in Philadelphia on April 16, 2008 by moderator George Stephanopoulos. “This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from,” Obama said. “He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn’t make much sense, George.”
Hannity continues to tout Obama’s relationship with Ayers, which Woodward apparently sees as the mark of a real journalist. “I get calls and e-mails from people telling me I’m insane to come on your show,” Woodward said. “I say, now, wait a minute, you let me say what I want. You dig into things. You — there is no bleep out button.”
One year ago today, Trayvon Martin — an unarmed 17-year-old boy on his way home from 7-11 — was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. The murder trial is scheduled to begin this June. A separate hearing may be held in April to determine whether Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law gives Zimmerman immunity.
While nothing can make up for the events of February 26, 2012, many people have responded to the tragedy with compassion, courage and strength. Here are some of the most inspiring things that have happened over the last year.
1. 192 colleagues of Trayvon Martin’s mother donated 1,362 hours of their vacation time so she could grieve.
“Sybrina Fulton, who has worked at the Miami-Dade County housing authority for 23 years, collected $40,825 worth of donated vacation time, county records show… the Miami-Dade County Commission passed a resolution sponsored by Bruno Barreiro, Barbara Jordan and Jose “Pepe” Diaz to allow county employees to donate vacation time to Fulton…Records show 192 county employees gave Fulton some of their hours” [Miami Herald, 5/12/2012]
2. Sanford, Florida has a new police chief who has pledged to finally address “long-standing racial tensions between the police department and the African-American community.”
The police chief who decided not to charge George Zimmerman was fired. [ABC7, 2/18/2013]
3. Dozens of major companies ended their support for ALEC, the right-wing group who championed “Stand Your Ground” laws.
The companies that ended their support for the American Legislative Exchange Council include “Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Procter & Gamble, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson, Dell Computers, Best Buy, General Motors and Walgreens.” ALEC was also forced to end it’s “Public Safety and Election Task Force,” which advocated for “Stand Your Ground” laws around the country. At least 39 lawmakers have also ended their association with ALEC.[ThinkProgress, 4/17/2012; ThinkProgress, 8/7/2012; ThinkProgress, 5/18/2012]
4. Thousands of people peacefully gathered in Sanford, Florida to demand justice for Trayvon Martin.
5. A United States Congressman went on the floor of the House of Representatives in a hoodie to show solidarity with Trayvon.
Illionis Rep. Bobby Rush said, “Racial profiling has to stop Mr. Speaker. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.” After delivering a rousing speech, he was escorted from the floor for violating decorum. [NBC News, 3/28/2012]
6. Legislation to repeal “Stand Your Ground” laws was introduced in four states.
The law was cited by the police as the reason Zimmerman was not arrested for weeks after Martin was killed. [Yahoo, 1/26/2013]
7. Students at Howard University produced this video to highlight the racial profiling of young black men.
“All young black men are not suspicious. We don’t deserve to be harassed, murdered, prosecuted or denied the protections of the justice system all because America believes that we are suspicious… Some of us have already and will eventually change the world. All are not suspicious.”
8. President Obama spoke out about Trayvon Martin in the Rose Garden.
“My main message is to the parents: If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon. I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves.” [3/23/2012]
Since Glenn Beck left Fox News in 2011 and founded his own web channel, TheBlaze, the former right-wing sensation has been less prevalent in the mainstream political conversation. Still, Beck has cultivated a substantial audience for his subscription-only programming, and is now using that following to pressure cable networks into carrying his channel.
Beck started promoting GetTheBlaze.com on Monday, asking fans to demonstrate to their television provider that there is wider demand for the libertarian channel. If his channel does get picked up by cable television providers, anyone who pays for cable will subsidize Beck’s channel, regardless of whether or not they watch it. As The New York Times explains, TV channels get small per-subscriber fees, whether or not the subscribers ever watch.
Beck argues that carrying TheBlaze would be no different from supposedly ideological cable channels like MSNBC and Al Jazeera America. But since leaving Fox, Beck’s radical libertarianism has gone even further fringe. In the past few months, Beck has promoted multiple conspiracy theories via the channel he is now trying to push on cable subscribers:
1. Cop killer Chris Dorner was supported by liberals. As Los Angeles was turned upside down in the manhunt for Chris Dorner in February, the former police officer who killed 4 people, Beck claimed “the American left” was supporting Chris Dorner. His evidence was a Facebook page with “thousands of likes.”
2. Obama secretly tried to release the “blind sheikh” bomber. Relying on a single anonymous source “close to the Obama administration,” TheBlaze accused President Obama of plotting to secretly release a 1993 World Trade Center bomber. The conspiracy theory quickly took hold in Tea Party circles, even prompting top House Republicans to parrot the false theory.
3. The Muslim Brotherhood infiltrated the US government. Beck hosted Rep. Michele Backmann (R-MN) to defend her widely denounced anti-Muslim witch hunt. On Beck’s show, Bachmann once again accused Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, of being a Muslim Brotherhood spy, a ludicrous charge vehemently condemned by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Scott Brown (R-MA).
4. The Petraeus scandal was orchestrated by the White House. Like most of the right-wing blogosphere, Beck was obsessed with a purported cover-up of the Benghazi consulate attack. When CIA Director David Petraeus was caught in an affair with his biographer, Beck claimed the White House deliberately orchestrated the scandal in order to discredit the military and distract from the Benghazi attacks. In Beck’s mind, the White House was also behind last year’s Secret Service prostitution scandal, another supposed attempt to undermine trust in law enforcement.
Beck also announced last month that he hopes to one day create his own town to bring together his various projects. “Independence, USA” is Beck’s libertarian fortress fantasy that would be protected from the rest of the US’ drift away from “the values of freedom, responsibility and truth.” The town would be a Disneyland-esque utopia, based around Beck’s “Media Center” where he would film movies, TV and documentaries.
On Thursday, Olympic fans grappled with the horrifying news that Paralympian and Olympian runner Oscar Pistorius may have pre-meditatively shot and killed his girlfriend, South African model Reeva Steenkamp. The public took a collective moment to reconsider previously glorifying (and now chilling) portrayals of the double amputee Olympain as a hero.
But The Sun, a News Corp.-owned, UK-based gossip rag, did not use their front page to take a critical look at the man behind the gun. Rather, the paper used the alleged murder as an opportunity to exploit the dead woman’s body, running a photo of Steenkamp in a bikini:
Almost immediately on Friday morning, a petition popped up demanding The Sun apologize for its “distasteful front cover.” Two other British papers, the Mail and the Star, elicited further outrage for running a full photo spread of Steenkamp in lingerie, despite its impertinence to the pending murder trial.
Just two days ago, News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch actually responded to criticism about other sexually exploitative content in The Sun — “Page 3,” which runs topless photos of women. Murdoch said he is considering changing that page, since it is “maybe” outdated.
Perhaps because Steenkamp is a model — or simply because she is beautiful — the press has provided details about the woman that seem absolutely unrelated to the case, including that she is a “regular on the South African party scene.” Few mentioned that Steenkamp was also a law school graduate.
On Monday afternoon, while CNN was covering blizzard damage and MSNBC was speculating on the President’s State of the Union, Fox News spent exactly four minutes and 30 seconds analyzing whether pop singers Adele and Kelly Clarkson needed to drop a few pounds.
Using a random tweet from one viewer of Sunday night’s Grammy Awards as an ostensible reason to bring it up, Fox invited on guest nutritionist Keren Gilbert to scrutinize the two women’s bodies, and to offer her own suggestions as to how the women could lose weight:
CAVUTO: Well, Adele and Kelly Clarkson cleaning up [at the Grammy's]. Now critics are saying they need to slim down and their current weight is nothing to idolize. Is that criticism fair?
GILBERT: We have processed food and we’re always struggling with — and people are saying, looking at Adele and saying, look at what she has accomplished. I could be overweight like her. I don’t need to address these issues in my life. And what I’m saying is Adele is a beautiful woman and so is Kelly Clarkson.
Not only is the whole conversation remarkably sexist — Cavuto and his guest glossed over the fact that Adele just had a baby — it’s also tired. Adele has addressed her critics’ constant barrage of insults about her body on several occasions, pointing out, “I would only lose weight if it affected my health or sex life, which it doesn’t,” and, “I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that.”
Clarkson’s weight has similarly been a constant topic of criticism, with gossip rags trying to put a number on the pounds that Clarkson has shed. The former American Idol star has discussed her weight loss, in terms of concerns about her personal health, though it’s actually none of Cavuto’s, or any fan’s, business either way.
A poll released Wednesday by Public Policy Polling shows that fewer people than ever trust Fox News as a source for accurate news and reporting. Just 41 percent expressed trust in the network — down from 49 four years ago — while 46 percent said they distrust Fox. There’s an obvious reason why: Fox misrepresents facts and fudges its data to advance the conservative agenda. Indeed, it’s nothing like the “fair and balanced” network it claims to be. And, it seems, voters are catching on.
Here are just five recent examples of how Fox skews the news:
1. They misrepresented the unemployment rate. Fox News ran this chart showing the unemployment rate, but managed to somehow make an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent look higher than 8.9:
2. They misinformed viewers about Benghazi. When Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) were trying their hardest to smear President Obama and former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton over Benghazi, Fox ran an “exclusive” report saying that the CIA had denied a diplomat permission to fend off an attack on the embassy. That never happened, and details later confirmed that the report — and the other conspiracy theories Fox ran alongside it — was totally unfounded.
3. They blamed non-existent ‘massive layoffs’ on Obama. Fox News runs frequentsegments covering Obama’s supposed ‘War on Coal’ and the website Fox Nation even ran this glaring headline blaming the election for huge layoffs in the coal industry. But there were not massive layoffs. Just one business owner in Utah laid off employees. Under Obama, the industry on the whole has actually continued to grow tremendously.
4. They got almost all of their climate coverage wrong. An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists revealed that a full 93 percent of Fox News coverage on the topic global climate change was ‘misleading.’ Here’s the breakdown of how Fox covered the climate issue:
The list of areas where Fox falls down on the job is too extensive to enumerate. But what is clear is that Fox’s method of dodging the truth and giving convenient facts won’t keep working, if they can’t gain the public’s trust.