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Unfair and unbalanced

I just added Fritz Wenzel to my list of “Birthers From A – Z,” based on an article at Media Matters for America. They wrote:

Wenzel is a birther who has called President Obama an “imposter,” and teamed up with conspiracy site WND to push dubious polling about the president’s birth certificate.

A couple of days ago, I finished reading Gabriel Sherman’s book, The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News–and Divided a Country. The book documented what I empirically observed, Fox News is intentionally propaganda and entertainment, not news. Their trademarked “fair and balanced” means that they will go as far as they can to the right to balance what they perceive as a media bias to the left. I also learned from that book that Media Matters for America was created largely as a response to Fox News.

As a general rule I don’t watch Fox News or read Media Matters. While I find useful material at the MMA web site, I am also troubled by their readiness to label someone a birther, and in this case it’s Fritz Wenzel. It is not without some hesitation that I added Wenzel to the “Birthers from A to Z” list. I followed the MMA article to a source at RightWingWatch a site belonging to People for the American Way, and from there to two WorldNetDaily articles questioning President Obama’s eligibility (2009) and his legitimacy (2010). Those WND articles left me wondering whether Wenzel was a birther or simply a propagandist, and I am also wary of any claims that someone is a birther today based on what they said before April of 2011 when President Obama released his long form, and the number of birthers in polls tumbled. I’ll go with the preponderance of evidence in the case of Wenzel and leave him on my birther list, but proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not there in my mind. (I have a similar pause with the non-rigorous use of the “racist” label.)

The Ailes biography has certainly spawned much thought on my part about propaganda. I have a long-standing aversion to any attempt to mislead others with tricky words, and misrepresented facts. I personally believe that the best way to fight fire is not with fire, but with water; or un-metaphorically, the best way to fight bias is with non-bias, not more bias in the opposite direction. This is why when I want news, I go to NPR and PBS, not MSNBC.

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51 Responses to Unfair and unbalanced

  1. avatar
    Joey March 30, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    If Mr. Wenzel has an identifiable email address, why not ask him directly if he considers himself to be in the “Obama is ineligible” camp.

  2. avatar
    Seamus March 30, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    Let me see; media matters reference, anti fox rhetoric and blind support for Obama . Blue print for the extreme left, wouldn’t bet against a few of you being maggot infested failed occupiers . This is going to hurt you bad when it comes out.

  3. avatar
    Joey March 30, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    Seamus:
    Let me see; media matters reference, anti fox rhetoric and blind support for Obama . Blue print for the extreme left, wouldn’t bet against a few of you being maggot infested failed occupiers . This is going to hurt you bad when it comes out.

    Ah yes, the old “any day now” paranoid right wing wacko meme.
    Been there, heard that.

  4. avatar
    OllieOxenFree March 30, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    Seamus: anti fox rhetoric…

    Fox hasn’t exactly been the biggest supporter of the birther movement. They dipped their toes into the cesspool, but didn’t like the stench and left you all to wallow in your own filth.

  5. avatar
    Bonsall Obot March 30, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    YA BURNT, Obots!

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 30, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    I left a contact form at his company site.

    Joey:
    If Mr. Wenzel has an identifiable email address, why not ask him directly if he considers himself to be in the “Obama is ineligible” camp.

  7. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 30, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    Seamus: This is going to hurt you bad when it comes out.

    When what “comes out”?

  8. avatar
    Arthur March 30, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    CarlOrcas: When what “comes out”?

    His dentures.

  9. avatar
    Arthur March 30, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    Seamus: This is going to hurt you bad when it comes out.

    I can’t speak for my fellow Obots, but I am absolutely terrified. You’ve really got us by the tail, Seamus. Yup. Tiger by the tail. You’ve got us. I’m just . . . . (yawn) . . . beside myself. . . (snore)

  10. avatar
    Joey March 30, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

    Arthur: I can’t speak for my fellow Obots, but I am absolutely terrified. You’ve really got us by the tail, Seamus. Yup. Tiger by the tail. You’ve got us. I’m just . . . . (yawn) . . . beside myself. . . (snore)

    Barack Obama first announced his candidacy for president on February 10th of 2007.
    Its only been seven plus years, including two national elections, that the paranoid right wing wackos have been telling us that “any day now” the president is going down. Pardon us anti-birthers and Obots for being just a wee bit skeptical.
    And of course, in the last seven years there have been 220 original jurisdiction lawsuits, 95 state and federal appellate decisions and 20 appeals at the Supreme Court of the United States, all in the president’s favor.

  11. avatar
    Paul March 30, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

    Seamus:
    This is going to hurt you bad when it comes out.

    There’s so little humor in politics these days. Thank you Seamus, THANK YOU! — for giving us all a much needed bit of humorous respite from our serious business of destroying America.

  12. avatar
    BillTheCat March 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    I’ve been a Media Matters fan for many years now, and yes, it was one of the original, well planned responses to Faux News, now oft imitated. The right wing has their own copy site, though I’m forgetting the name right now…

  13. avatar
    BillTheCat March 30, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    Seamus:
    Let me see; media matters reference, anti fox rhetoric and blind support for Obama . Blue print for the extreme left, wouldn’t bet against a few of you being maggot infested failed occupiers . This is going to hurt you bad when it comes out.

    Truth based news confuses you, doesn’t it princess.

    And Occupied failed? ROFL, in your dreams sunshine.

  14. avatar
    Thinker March 30, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    Last week a billboard cropped up in my neighborhood that says something like, “Benghazi, IRS, Health Care, Class Warfare: LIARS.” I assumed it was an anti-Fox News billboard since it had all the RWNJ memes and I live in a really, really liberal neighborhood. I later saw a media report that it is actually an anti-Obama billboard. Poe’s law in there somewhere.

  15. avatar
    Bonsall Obot March 30, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    I admit to being a failed occupier, inasmuch as I had a job at the time that absolutely required my presence, as my absence would have put dozens of people out of work for weeks while a replacement was found. I deeply regret not having been a part of it, but it couldn’t be helped.

    As for the rest…

    Seamus:

    This is going to hurt you bad when it comes out.

    Spoken like a syphilitic rapist.

  16. avatar
    Jim March 30, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

    Seamus: This is going to hurt you bad when it comes out.

    Joey: Ah yes, the old “any day now” paranoid right wing wacko meme.

    If they’re Waiting on Zullo
    http://helpcenterpc.com/images/DeadComputer.jpg
    “Any Year Now”

  17. avatar
    Rickey March 30, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

    CarlOrcas: When what “comes out”?

    Maybe Seamus has misplaced his Darth Vader Action Figure.

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/louis-ck-totally-doesnt-have-a-darth-vader-action-figure-in-his-butt/

  18. avatar
    Lupin March 31, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    Seamus: a few of you being maggot infested failed occupiers

    What you’re looking at is a mirror.

  19. avatar
    Seamus March 31, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    Short memory of media matters ; the Soros funded tax exempt non profit run by extremist radical homosexual David Brock. Did you forget the sex scandal Brock had with David Grey ? Grey was giving $850k to keep quiet about the foreign governments also keeping the anti American false propaganda machine running. Yes , you are all a bunch of nut job occupy parasites, I can always tell and can also bet you are full fledged devotees to the greatest nut job group, the global warming temple . Unlike the fake background of Obama where there is actual physical proof, you but job conspiracy nuts are now blaming war in Syria on global warming. Earthquake in California =global warming, coldest winter ever=global warming, global warming science team frozen In rare Southern Hemisphere summer frozen ocean = global warming. Yes occupy was a massive failure, this years mid term elections will show you how. By the way occupy was financed by Soros and run by SEIU.

  20. avatar
    Lupin March 31, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    Seamus: Short memory of media matters ; the Soros funded tax exempt non profit run by extremist radical homosexual David Brock. Did you forget the sex scandal Brock had with David Grey ? Grey was giving $850k to keep quiet about the foreign governments also keeping the anti American false propaganda machine running. Yes , you are all a bunch of nut job occupy parasites, I can always tell and can also bet you are full fledged devotees to the greatest nut job group, the global warming temple . Unlike the fake background of Obama where there is actual physical proof, you but job conspiracy nuts are now blaming war in Syria on global warming. Earthquake in California =global warming, coldest winter ever=global warming, global warming science team frozen In rare Southern Hemisphere summer frozen ocean = global warming. Yes occupy was a massive failure, this years mid term elections will show you how. By the way occupy was financed by Soros and run by SEIU.

    We need a negative IQ scale to measure this one.

  21. avatar
    American Mzungu March 31, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    Seamus: Yes , you are all a bunch of nut job occupy parasites, I can always tell

    What have I done to be called a “nut job occupy parasite?” What are the symptoms? How you can “always tell” of such a condition?

  22. avatar
    Bonsall Obot March 31, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    Seamus:
    Short memory of media matters ; the Soros funded tax exempt non profit run by extremist radical homosexual David Brock.Did you forget the sex scandalBrock had with David Grey ? Grey was giving $850k to keep quiet about the foreign governments also keeping the anti American false propaganda machine running. Yes , you are all a bunch of nut job occupy parasites, I can always tell and can also bet you are full fledged devotees to the greatest nut job group, the global warming temple . Unlike the fake background of Obama where there is actual physical proof, you but job conspiracy nuts are now blaming war in Syria on global warming. Earthquake in California =global warming, coldest winter ever=global warming, global warming science team frozen In rare Southern Hemisphere summer frozen ocean = global warming. Yes occupy was a massive failure, this years mid term elections will show you how. By the way occupy was financed by Soros and run by SEIU.

    P.S. I am not a crank.

  23. avatar
    The Magic M March 31, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    Seamus: By the way occupy was financed by Soros and run by SEIU.

    You forgot to mention the Black Panthers, the Jesuits and ACORN. Your masters will not be pleased you only mentioned half of your allotted talking points in your daily word salad. Trust me, you’ll be begging for a FEMA camp when they’re through with you. ;)

  24. avatar
    Lupin March 31, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    Bonsall Obot: P.S. I am not a crank.

    I have in fact read more cogent rants printed on greasy leaflets and shoved into my hands by smelly, raincoat-wearing individuals in the subway.

    Anyone connected to agriculture knows that global warming is a fact. The farmers and tress growers, wine-growers etc in my region are already adapting to its consequences.

    Our civilization’s contribution to it is where the debate is, but pretty much everyone (outside of Crazy USA) agrees we’re a major factor.

  25. avatar
    Arthur March 31, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    Back to bed, Grandpa; your paranoia is way up and your delusions are showing.

    Seamus: Did you forget the sex scandal Brock had with David Grey ? Grey was giving $850k to keep quiet about the foreign governments also keeping the anti American false propaganda machine running. Yes , you are all a bunch of nut job occupy parasites, I can always tell and can also bet you are full fledged devotees to the greatest nut job group, the global warming temple .

  26. avatar
    Dave March 31, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    This last comment by Seamus exemplifies a problem wingnuts have: writing without ever asking themselves what point they’re trying to make. He alleges Brock is homosexual — and that implies what? He says Media Matters is a tax-exempt non-profit — this is true, but so what? What implication does Seamus want us to draw? The middle of the paragraph wanders off into global warming denial, with no identifiable connection to anything else he’s saying. Then the last two sentences abruptly change the subject to occupy, making a random collection of assertions that, again, have no identifiable point.

    I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much as this is just a blog comment — Taitz’s court filings have this same problem, where it’s considerably more serious.

  27. avatar
    Jim March 31, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    Lupin: We need a negative IQ scale to measure this one.

    Well, considering the birther’s “Failures of March”, I guess he/she/it can be forgiven. As their birther universe continues its implosion, all they’re left with is empty rhetoric…which goes quite nicely with their empty headed followers.

  28. avatar
    American Mzungu March 31, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    Seamus: and can also bet you are full fledged devotees to the greatest nut job group, the global warming temple

    I didn’t know there was a temple. Where is this temple? Are there membership dues? Is weekly attendance required? Are the people interesting? Is the choir good? Does Al Gore preach there? So many questions.

  29. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 31, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    Seamus: Short memory of media matters ; the Soros funded tax exempt non profit run by extremist radical homosexual David Brock.

    Were you bothered by Brock’s sexuality when he worked for The American Spectator?

  30. avatar
    BatGuano March 31, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Seamus:
    This is going to hurt you bad when it comes out.

    “i’ll bite your legs off” the black knight screamed.

  31. avatar
    BatGuano March 31, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    Dave:
    What implication does Seamus want us to draw?

    that the world is controlled by a secret cabal of homosexual tax-preparers.

  32. avatar
    Joey March 31, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    Dave:
    This last comment by Seamus exemplifies a problem wingnuts have: writing without ever asking themselves what point they’re trying to make.He alleges Brock is homosexual — and that implies what? He says Media Matters is a tax-exempt non-profit — this is true, but so what? What implication does Seamus want us to draw? The middle of the paragraph wanders off into global warming denial, with no identifiable connection to anything else he’s saying. Then the last two sentences abruptly change the subject to occupy, making a random collection of assertions that, again, have no identifiable point.

    I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much as this is just a blog comment — Taitz’s court filings have this same problem, where it’s considerably more serious.

    Seamus’ point is just to attempt to insult liberals and liberalism. He has no other point because he’s not that bright. Its boilerplate right wing ad hominem attack.
    The fact that he needs to constantly change the subject shows the limits of his intellectual ability to debate the topic of this forum: “Obama Conspiracy Theories.”

  33. avatar
    Seamus March 31, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    I am a liberal, you confuse liberalism with progressivism . Progressives are evil and are in both parties. I wouldn’t be surprised if this false propaganda site was paid for by media matters and George Soros. Maybe that is why none of you identify yourselves.

  34. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 31, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

    I would be surprised.

    But what is this “none of you identify yourselves” crap? Whose picture do you think is at the top of the page?

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/visitor-guide/about-dr-conspiracy/

    [Personal insult deleted for Lent]

    Seamus: wouldn’t be surprised if this false propaganda site was paid for by media matters and George Soros. Maybe that is why none of you identify yourselves.

  35. avatar
    Dave March 31, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    Seamus, I’m not complaining that you state opinions that differ from mine, so whether you are a liberal or a conservative is irrelevant. I’m complaining that you aren’t making any point.

    Let me help. You say this is a “false propaganda site.” If you actually want anyone to be persuaded, how about presenting us with a few facts that lead to that conclusion?

    Or, as I stated earlier, you allege that David Brock is a homosexual, but you don’t say what that has to do with anything. So take this opportunity, tell us what conclusion you draw from this alleged fact?

  36. avatar
    American Mzungu March 31, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    Seamus: I am a liberal,

    Surely the End Times are upon us!

  37. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 31, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    And Rupert Mudoch-funded Fox News is run by the extremist adulterer Roger Ailes. What’s your point?

    Seamus: Short memory of media matters ; the Soros funded tax exempt non profit run by extremist radical homosexual David Brock.

  38. avatar
    Dave March 31, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    I would also note that Media Matters is quite upfront about having a partisan bias, while Fox News has consistently denied theirs.

  39. avatar
    Arthur March 31, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    Seamus: I am a liberal, you confuse liberalism with progressivism . Progressives are evil and are in both parties.

    Where did you learn that, Grandpa; Glenn Beck University?

  40. avatar
    Arthur March 31, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    American Mzungu: Surely the End Times are upon us!

    When he says “liberal,” he means that he likes butter AND sour cream on his potato.

  41. avatar
    Bonsall Obot March 31, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    The latest fad in Wingnuttia is to refer to themselves as “classical liberals,” since they’ve managed to pollute the reputation of conservatism. It’s one of their more ridiculous efforts at rebranding.

  42. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 31, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    Seamus:
    I am a liberal, you confuse liberalism with progressivism . Progressives are evil and are in both parties. I wouldn’t be surprised if this false propaganda site was paid for by media matters and George Soros. Maybe that is why none of you identify yourselves.

    What, exactly, is “evil” about progressives?

    And, because it’s so easy…..why don’t you identify yourself?

  43. avatar
    BillTheCat March 31, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Seamus:
    Short memory of media matters ; the Soros funded tax exempt non profit run by extremist radical homosexual David Brock.Did you forget the sex scandalBrock had with David Grey ? Grey was giving $850k to keep quiet about the foreign governments also keeping the anti American false propaganda machine running. Yes , you are all a bunch of nut job occupy parasites, I can always tell and can also bet you are full fledged devotees to the greatest nut job group, the global warming temple . Unlike the fake background of Obama where there is actual physical proof, you but job conspiracy nuts are now blaming war in Syria on global warming. Earthquake in California =global warming, coldest winter ever=global warming, global warming science team frozen In rare Southern Hemisphere summer frozen ocean = global warming. Yes occupy was a massive failure, this years mid term elections will show you how. By the way occupy was financed by Soros and run by SEIU.

    YAWN. Got anymore AFP talking points and Glen Beck blathering to spew loser?

    Occupy worked, despite your pathetic cries of denial. And congrats on being yet another dim bulb who actually believes Soros runs anything outside of his business, twit.

    Now go collect your government check, “parasite”.

  44. avatar
    BillTheCat March 31, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Seamus:
    I am a liberal, you confuse liberalism with progressivism . Progressives are evil and are in both parties. I wouldn’t be surprised if this false propaganda site was paid for by media matters and George Soros. Maybe that is why none of you identify yourselves.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA thanks for the laugh. Your about as “liberal” as a rat turd.

  45. avatar
    American Mzungu March 31, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    Seamus: and can also bet you are full fledged devotees to the greatest nut job group, the global warming temple .

    Today’s news includes a U.N. report on global warming.

    http://news.msn.com/world/global-warming-dials-up-our-risks-un-report-says

  46. avatar
    Bonsall Obot March 31, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    Shhhh… invoking the U.N. just gives them a hate-boner.

  47. avatar
    American Mzungu March 31, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    Bonsall Obot: Shhhh… invoking the U.N. just gives them a hate-boner.

    In contrast to the “fair and balanced” commentary we’ve gotten from Seamus so far?

  48. avatar
    Suranis March 31, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

    The Germ of truth in Seamus’s rant is that American “conservatives” are not very conservative at all. In fact before that word was swept under the carpet they used to call people like them them “radicals”. In Europe they didn’t call them Neo-cons, they called them neo-liberals. A lot of Americans liked being conservative, associating it with good people like Eisenhower, so the Radicals basically co-opted the conservative brand and and inserted their ideas into the word “conservatism,” pulling the long con.

    Roger Ailes is a radical buy any measure, wanting to fundamentally change society rather than preserve its structures.

  49. avatar
    Keith March 31, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    And Rupert Mudoch-funded Fox News is run by the extremist adulterer Roger Ailes. What’s your point?

    And don’t forget that Fox News number 2 share holder is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, 58, whose grandfather was the founding king of modern Saudi Arabia.

  50. avatar
    JPotter March 31, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    Seamus:
    I am a liberal, you confuse liberalism with progressivism . Progressives are evil and are in both parties. I wouldn’t be surprised if this false propaganda site was paid for by media matters and George Soros. Maybe that is why none of you identify yourselves.

    Progressive and Regressive are not the same word. Not even spelled the same. Close, but not the same.

    I post under my initial and last name. I can’t help that it’s dirt common. Would you have me jam my home address, cell#, and SSN in my handle? Eh, “Seamus”? i take your post to mean you are a one-name celebrity we should all recognize on sight?

    Like …. Seamus.

    :P

  51. avatar
    Bonsall Obot March 31, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    JPotter:

    Would you have me jam my home address, cell#, and SSN in my handle?

    Your SSN is probably stolen anyway. And don’t get me started on your Obamaphone.

    ETA: And why do you use “#” to signify “number,” AND use “N” to signify “number” immediately after? Hmmmm? NO ONE DOES THAT YOUR POST IS UNDISPUTED FORGERY