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Top 50 Conservative Websites Reveal Alarming Patterns

Thursday, October 08, 2009

By Ole Ole Olson

News Junkie Post

Fox News of course tops the list.  Others in the top 10 include the WorldNet Daily, Newsmax, and the Free Republic.  Conservapedia is down at #37.

The top 50 conservative websites are a fascinating compilation that seems to be dominated by disinformation.  That is, false information promoted in order to influence public opinion or the government.   They demonstrate a high degree of alarmism coupled with a serious lack of journalistic integrity, which can be a noxious mix that helps ignorance grow.

1. Fox ‘news’
Let us examine some of these to demonstrate, starting with the mother of all propaganda outlets: Fox ‘News’.  The website is ranked 236th in world traffic by updated figures (37th in the US), and has millions of nightly viewers.  The fact that Fox is biased in undeniable, despite taking a page from the neocon book of ironic slogans with the phrase: “Fair and Balanced.”  Fox has even taken talking points directly from Bush, sometimes via Murdoch.

Their assault on real journalism has been well established on the documentary Outfoxed [watch it here].  There are numerous photo collages revealing their tactics of labeling anyone in trouble as a Democrat.  One can also check out watchdog site Media Matters for 6000+ pieces of evidence that prove Fox ‘News’ spreads disinformation. The point however, is that they are deliberately spreading ignorance to a very large audience, and that is dangerous and contagious.  A recent Pew poll found Fox ‘News’ viewers came in last regarding their comprehension of national and international affairs.

This is perhaps most evident recently during the debate about health care reform.  “72% of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants, 79% of them say it will lead to a government takeover, 69% think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and 75% believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly.”...(Remainder.)


Franken Wins Bipartisan Support for Legislation Reining in KBR's Treatment of Rape

By Faiz Shakir
Think Progress

In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. She was detained in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and “warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.” (Jones was not an isolated case.) Jones was prevented from bringing charges in court against KBR because her employment contract stipulated that sexual assault allegations would only be heard in private arbitration.

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) proposed an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts from companies like KBR “if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.” Speaking on the Senate floor yesterday, Franken said:
The constitution gives everybody the right to due process of law … And today, defense contractors are using fine print in their contracts do deny women like Jamie Leigh Jones their day in court. … The victims of rape and discrimination deserve their day in court [and] Congress plainly has the constitutional power to make that happen.
Watch Franken’s speech:



Jonah Goldberg Fellates Glenn Beck; Plays Dumb About "Racist" Charges

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters

Goldberg's in classic apologist mode today in USA Today, as he waves away anyone on the left or right who has a problem with Beck. Goldberg's exercise is particular dishonest because Goldberg never--ever!--spells out what Beck has done and said this year that would upset both liberals and serious conservatives.

That's the golden rule of apologists: never let readers know why your guy is under attack. And Goldberg knows his role well. Rather than directly quote a single controversial thing Beck has said this year, or explain why conservative David Brooks labeled Beck a "loon" this weekend, Goldberg simply paints Beck as a "goofy" "populist." (How dumb does Goldberg think readers are? Very, very dumb.)

Goldberg is especially sure to stay away from the "racist" controversy. You remember, when Beck made national headlines and kicked off a advertising boycott that, to date, has cost his show nearly 80 advertisers, when he called Obama a "racist" who had a hatred of white people and white culture?...(Remainder.)


Israeli Ambassador Uses Nazi Analogy to Shut Down Critics

By MJ Rosenberg
Media Matters

So now Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, writing in The New Republic, says that the Goldstone Report "portrays the Jews as the deliberate murderers of innocents--as Nazis. And a Nazi state not only lacks the need and right to defend itself; it must rather be destroyed."

This is crazy stuff, especially because it comes not from some rightwing crank but from Israel's highest ranking diplomat who serves in its most significant diplomatic post.  Oren is also an intellectual, an author who is American born and educated.

Oren's take on the Goldstone report is ridiculous.  In fact, nowhere in his piece does he dispute the report's finding that Israel (and Hamas) committed war crimes during the Gaza war.

Reading Oren, one would never know that 1,387 Palestinians (including 320 children) were killed compared to nine Israeli soldiers. Nowhere does he discuss the testimony of the Israeli soldiers who have told Goldstone, as well as Israeli groups investigating the conduct of the war, that the Israeli army repeatedly made no distinction between combatants and innocents.

No, all Oren wants to do is shoot the messenger - the distinguished South African jurist, Richard Goldstone, himself Jewish - for having produced a report that "goes further than Ahmadinejad and the Holocaust deniers by stripping the Jews not only of the ability and the need but of the right to defend themselves."

What, in heaven's name, does Goldstone have to do with Ahmadinejad?  Nothing....(Remainder.)


Crooks and Liars Exclusive: Videos Show Gun-Show Vendors Flouting the Law

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Earlier today, we reported on a set of videos being released today by the office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that reveal vendors at gun shows selling weapons to people who tell them flat-out that they couldn't pass a background check -- something that is in fact against the law.

The videos are now available for public viewing. We've provided a couple of them here at C&L, but go see the full set of them -- along with the accompanying report -- visit the website Gun Show Undercover.

There seems to be some confusion, at least among our readers, whether they're watching something illegal. They are. As the mayor's office explained in its press release:
Even though private unlicensed sellers are not required to run background checks using the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check system, it is a federal felony for them to sell guns to people they have reason to believe are prohibited purchasers (such as felons or the mentally ill). In purchases attempted on 30 private sellers, the undercover investigator showed interest in buying a gun by asking about stopping power or by dry-firing the weapon. After agreeing on a price, the undercover would indicate that he probably couldn’t pass a background check. At that point, the seller is required by law to refuse the sale – but only 11 out of 30 sellers did so. Investigators found private dealers who failed these integrity tests at every show, including two sellers who failed at multiple shows. In total, 19 of the 30 private sellers approached failed the integrity test.

The 11 sellers who terminated the sale confirmed that private sellers know the law. As one seller in Columbus, Ohio, explained “I mean even as a private citizen, I’m kind of allowed a certain latitude, but once you say that [you can’t pass the background check], I’m kind of obligated not to….I think that’s what the rules are.”

The investigation also revealed that some private sellers are in fact apparently “engaged in the business” of selling firearms without a federal license, in violation of the law. For example, one seller sold to investigators at three different gun shows and acknowledged selling 348 assault rifles in less than one year.
So when you see characters like this, you're seeing the kind of people who willingly, knowingly, and intentionally flout the law because there's no way -- outside of investigations like this -- they'll ever get caught:



Bob Dole Says Health Care Will Pass, GOP Should be Open to Reform

By Sam Stein
The Huffington Post

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kans.) told reporters on Wednesday that opposition to the president's health care package was driven, in part, by knee-jerk partisanship and he urged Congressional Republicans to consider backing a version of reform.

The 1996 Republican presidential candidate also predicted, following a speech at a health care reform summit in Kansas, that "there will be a signing ceremony" for a reform bill sometime this year or early in 2010.

But the comments that seem likely to create the most ripples were those that dealt with Congressional opposition to the White House. Dole, according to reports, framed the pushback to Barack Obama's reform agenda as almost perfunctory in nature.

"Sometimes people fight you just to fight you," he said, according to The Kansas City Star. "They don't want Reagan to get it, they don't want Obama to get it, so we've got to kill it..."

"Health care is one of those things," he added. "Now we've got to do something."

In a statement to the Huffington Post, an aide to the former majority leader clarified that Dole "believed there is an opportunity to do something on health care" but that he wasn't urging Republicans to simply get on board a final package.

"He talked about bipartisanship and its relation to the major pieces of legislation with which he has been involved," said Mike Marshall, a spokesman for the former senator. "He has not endorsed any bill or told anyone to get on board any bill. He has just said what he has been saying, which is that he believes Congress should work this out in a bipartisan way. He would like Republicans to stay engaged on the issue."...(Remainder.)



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