April 14, 2010
Misinformation is one of the key causes of conflict in this country. We can disagree all we want. Some can say Texas is better. Other may foam at the mouth as they claim Chicago pizza is better than New York pizza. Argue about who should win American Idol. It doesn’t matter, but as long as we all have the same base, the same understanding of the facts, we should be able to, eventually, have a civil discussion.
However, three things have recently bothered me. Well, they’ve been bothering me for a while, at least one of them has. It seems like Fox News is both duplicitous… and an outright liar. They don’t even try to cover it up any more.
The Tea Party
The Tea Party bills itself as the voice of America. They are a grassroots movement that fights for the little guy and have YOUR best interests at heart because without the individual freedoms we cherish so much, big government and runaway spending, along with higher taxes, will strip of the rights Jesus himself wrote into the Bill of Rights.
Except that the modern-day Tea Party has about as much in common with the American revolutionaries as Snoopy fighting the Red Baron has with World War I veterans.
If you ask any Tea Party member what the original Boston Tea Party was about, he or she will very likely tell you about how it was a protest against taxes. That person would be half right. The original Boston Tea Party was a protest against taxation without representation. The colonies had no say in what taxes got levied and the one that broke the deal for the colonials was a monopoly granted to the East India Trading Company. In essence, the British Parliament gave East India the ability to sell its goods in the colonies at a lower price because Parliament cut the taxes they would have to pay. Local tea growers in the colonies had to pay much higher taxes.
The Boston Tea Party was the most radical protest.
So let’s summarize. More than two hundred years ago, what would become America revolted against a government in which they had zero representation or power because the 18th-century equivalent of an international corporation was given a tax cut. At no point were the colonies themselves taxed.
This is one of the greatest jokes I’ve ever heard. A lot of conservatives, and yes the Tea Party is conservative and was heavily promoted if not started by Fox News, actively fight to get the rich the most tax cuts possible while moving the burden to the middle class. It’s the opposite of what the Boston Tea Party was about.
If the modern-day Tea Party actually did what the original Tea Party did, we’d have marches all over the country begging Congress to keep Bush’s tax cuts off the tax code. The rich and the companies would get taxed more, and there are companies, massive companies, that don’t actually pay taxes, instead getting massive breaks through loop-holes.
Given that the modern Tea Party has almost no ideological link to the original Boston rebellion, why even name it the same thing?
Would people get so riled out if it was called “Americans Against Taxes for the Rich” or “Fox News Protest?” No. The Boston Tea Party is one of the most famous and iconic symbols of the Revolutionary War, and Americans pride themselves in that war. Frankly, it’s insulting to anyone who studies history that this group contains so many people who are fighting for the rights of the people in power and have perverted the original intent of this historic act in American history.
So, moving on from weapons of mass destruction to weapons of mass destruction.
Last week, President Obama signed a treaty with Russia that would lower nuclear stockpiles by a third. Of course, this means that both Russia and the United States still have 1,500 nuclear warheads EACH. The treaty also states that the United States will not use nuclear weapons against a target that is not a part of the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.
As you can imagine, this will leave America completely defenseless.
Wow. I could fertilize my lawn with that report.
The treaty states, in no uncertain terms, that the United States will go full-blown General Ripper on anyone who uses weapons of mass destruction against us, nuclear or otherwise. If Iran or North Korea used a biological weapon on us and killed millions of people, we reserve to right to essentially turn the country into the world’s largest glass sculpture.
The way it’s been reported, though, Fox has made it look as though Obama has left us without any means to retaliate. But we DO have a means to retaliate! We have a few hundred megatons worth of firepower to use and the planes, personnel, and equipment to get said nukes to any part of the world.
This one isn’t even a half-truth. This one is an outright lie, and a “news” network gets to report it like it was the word of God Himself. In case you think that almost 1500 nuclear warheads aren’t even that much, I’d like to remind you what a measly low kiloton bomb (VERY low on the yield range) did to one city and please remember that most of our current bombs are several orders of magnitude LARGER.
Death Panels Claim Their First Victim
If you keep an eye on Fox News for the inevitable train wreck that will one day be left of Glenn Beck, you may remember a few months ago when Sarah Palin went on the defensive against the health care bill and shouted to the mountains that the government was planning on creating “death panels” to control who got health care and who didn’t. Specifically, they would come after her son with Down Syndrome.
If you didn’t serve a purpose or the government wanted to save some money, well, hey, grandma doesn’t need that oxygen tank, right? Little Timmy here has Republican parents, so he’s got to go. You are a member of the Tea Party? Sorry. No doctor visits for you know. Go set that broken arm somewhere else.
Of course, many in the media already debunked this, firstly by the fact that the phrase “death panel” is nowhere in the bill. Secondly, the idea that someone, somewhere, could deny you coverage ignores the fact that, if you have insurance, AN INSURANCE COMPANY ALREADY DOES THAT.
However, Fox recently ran a headline that asked, didn’t report, if the death panels had claimed their first victim.
I want you to pay very close attention that story. VERY close attention. The original story says nothing of government coming in and denying this woman any care whatsoever. This was a company, a privately-run company. If you want to get a headache, I recommend you read the comments below the Fox story.
Just by asking the question and placing a question mark after it, Fox News essentially claims that death panels do exist. The question is not whether the health care bill will kill you. That’s already been answered. The question is if this is the first victim.
So there you have it. Fox News reporting blatant lies. Stay tuned for the report detailing how Glenn Beck is actually the second coming of Christ and Karl Rove is Athena reincarnated as a man.
Is there anything this news channel can do that will get it shut down for having the audacity to call itself “news” while ignoring reality? This isn’t just misreporting or getting a statistic wrong. This isn’t someone using a bad source. Every news organization does that from time to time. Sometimes they do things like subtly alter the perception of the news, but this goes beyond that.
These lies are having a very real effect on the public debate and discourse. People are going in without all the facts or blatant lies. It’s not a debate. It’s a fist-fight.
I find it appalling that these guys could get fined for saying “fuck” but nothing happens when they pull stuff like this.