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Will Obama Survive The Fox News Attack Machine?

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Going negative has always been a prominent part of American elections but it’s usually the other candidate who is running the attack. So what do you do if the negative attacks happen even before the race begins? Worse yet, what if the attacker is a multi-billion dollar media conglomerate that can coordinate its message through television, radio and Internet outlets? This type of systematic bashing might sound wildly conspiratorial to a passive citizen but wouldn’t that lack of doubt increase its effectiveness? If people have no reason to believe they are being lied to, wouldn’t they listen without skepticism? Wouldn’t they smartly stand aside as a cluster bomb of lies spills from the airwaves raining down only on the intended target? Of course they would and perhaps they do.

A friend recently remarked that she could never vote for Barack Obama. In the past she had always appeared to be an open minded individual so I was surprised by her statement. When I asked why not? She said, “I don’t think America is ready for a Muslim President.” This marketing bomb had hit its target. The reason my friend was so misinformed about Senator Obama, who is a born again Christian, was that she heard otherwise several times on Fox news. Since the beginning of 2007, Fox has taken it upon themselves to make weekly personal attacks on Barack’s character, religion, family, personal history and legislative record. At the last count they produced over 37 negative stories, almost one per week, since before he announced his candidacy. As a United States Senator, Obama might seem like fair game until you actually read the articles. He’s accused of being a cocaine addict, a muslim, a socialist, a terrorist sympathizer, a black radical and of being related to Osama Bin Laden himself.

You almost want to laugh at the absurdity of these stories, except for the fact that some television viewers and radio listeners can’t tell fact from fiction. After all, they saw or heard it on the news. Day after day these people see weather warnings, car accidents and murders on the news. All of which are happening right outside in the streets so when the same personality they rely on to give them important information turns around and tells them a gossipy tale about a young black Senator from Illinois named Obama, which rhymes with Osama, they tend to believe it. It’s not only Barack’s public image that has suffered from these attacks. Fox has also targeted much of the Democratic Party as well as a few Republicans and anyone who publicly states that they are against the Iraq war. No one is off limits. No subject is too personal or too sacred for this media war machine to strike them down.

Luckily the forces of truth have been recording these lies in the form of websites like Newshounds, the documentary movie Outfoxed directed by Robert Greenwald and in a growing collection of books like What Liberal Media? by Eric Alterman. Their limited efforts to set the record straight have made a difference with those already educated about politics, but it’s the general public who needs this information.

In the case of Barack Obama, if they keep adding shadows to this long shot candidate, pretty soon the public will only be able to see a blurry shade of black. They’ll have memorized enough propaganda to prevent him from ever running for president again. In times like this, the misinformed public becomes their own worst enemy as they are tricked into voting for people who share none of their values. If it is possible to delay our final judgments during this extended election season then perhaps we owe it to our country to doubt a little more and believe a little less.

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About Alex Hutchinson

  • Zedd

    I think posting and reading blogs is just conversation. It doesn’t serve one purpose. It doesn’t have to be categorized. It’s just people talking to one another, sometimes lucidly and other times not so much.

    I post on BC because its a format that I have adjusted to.

    As for my leanings based on the Compass, I am nearly smack dab in the center though “minisculey” left leaning. The results are as expected. However the questions are too pigeon holing and broad and end up diluting the significance of the test results.

  • Zedd


    I am highlighting the notion that the initial accusation thats been made by Fox and the rest of the so called conservatives was mute. It was insulting to the viewership and inaccurate. We can deal with that at another time.

    Fox is hypocritical and simply disingenuous and cheap. Their retort is adolescent. Unfortunately their existence has lowered the quality of discourse in America. Millions believe themselves to be engaged in a comprehensive way when they are simply getting an intentionally watered down imitation of information.

  • Clavos

    But only while he thought…

    Well, of course, mate. That’s why, at the time, we were all stoned sophomores.

  • “You can’t really know anything”?

    Well, we can presumably all agree that’s bollocks. Even Descartes knew that, at the very least, his existence was a fact.

    You just take that as a starting point and work from there.

  • Clavos

    Being a thick-headed, Squarehead Swede, my head only hurts.

    But I AM reminded by your question of those college debates that ended in “you can’t really know anything.”

    Then, my head DID explode, but mostly because of what we were smoking…

  • Clav, but what if everyone agrees with you that we’re not all on the same side? Wouldn’t we then all be on the same side?

    [head explodes]

  • Suss, believing in the BCS makes you part of the religious right.


  • Clavos

    The part I like best is that we aren’t all on the same side…

  • Maurice®

    Dave #34


    Very introspective post. I am not sure how it relates to this thread but it is accurate.

    I come back to this site because of the reasons you listed. Most commenters here are tolerable.

  • Sorta, however the frame of reference is contained in a vacuum, unlike real life. And although Internet debate is contained in a bubble, bubbles at least have atmosphere.

    I’m dissing the questionnare, not you. I will diss you if the Lions beat the Giants. That wasn’t a question on the political compass, though.

    I believe in the NCAA football BCS, so I guess that makes me an authoritarian, but I love parity in college basketball, so that makes me an anarchist.

  • fair enough, Suss…

    but it’s as much for everyone else to have common ground of nomenclature and an agreed upon frame of Reference

    know what i mean?


  • For the record:

    I’ve never found out anything about myself by clicking radio buttons on the Internet, other than inner character is hard to achieve through multiple choice answers.

  • Oh boy…

    See what happens when I wander out of town for a few days. Just when I was thinking you can’t get much more priceless than Silencio’s comment (#6) and Zedd’s smackdown (#7), along comes Dave (in comment #9) calling the aforesaid Silencio ‘clear-thinking’.

    What’s next? Archie finding a liberal he likes?

  • troll, it means you fit this term

    which ain’t bad company, imo

    and Baronius, it’s a Libertarian quiz/website…just for the record


  • troll

    I came out severely politically demented to anarchically untestable…what does it all mean – ?

  • Clavos


    I came out a couple of steps below the middle on the political axis (in the libertarian area), and about halfway to Friedman on the right side of the economic axis.

    There’s nobody in my quadrant on the international “names” chart.

    Guess I’m a strange mix…

  • Gonzo, I’ve seen other surveys with the two axes, and I’ve scored much more as you’d expect. There’s no way that I’m to the left of John Edwards, no matter what formulation is used. But I was probably too literal with this survey. It had quite a few straw-man right wing questions, that would simply be impossible to agree with as asked.

  • gonzo marx

    i dunno Baronius…sounds like an Aquinas kind of score to me

    everyone i have had do that survey has come out pretty damn near spot on as long as they answer honestly

    the Point of it was to demonstrate a second axis of the political spectrum rather than the purely binary left/right dichotomy

    your mileage may vary…


  • Gonzo, that survey was worthless. I’m one click off the dead center to the left, one click off dead center toward the authoritarian. That ain’t me.

  • Zedd – Pot, I’d like you to meet kettle. Kettle, this is pot.

    This article postulates that the right-wing press is going after liberals. You agree. But you totally dismiss the idea that the left-wing press goes after conservatives.

    The press goes after its enemies. Read up about Jefferson and Adams. Jefferson took his feud with Adams to the press, and destroyed the man politically. Alex tries to depict press prejudice as a new thing, but it’s historically more common than impartiality. There were pro- and anti- newspapers on the subjects of independence, abolition, prohibition, and universal suffrage. Even the idea that reporting should be unbiased is fairly new. So is the idea that a person can read the paper uncritically.

  • Re #16:

    That’s a good link Gonzo – I’m somewhere between the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela (both close personal friends as you know).

    It’s a shame you can’t answer ‘dunno’ or ‘not summat I care about’ as an option though.

    On commenting. I very rarely comment but generally enjoy reading them – some people more than others. It’s particularly enjoyable when people engage in genuine DEBATE – ie, admit the possibility that they may not yet know everything and allow the possibility that their mind’s may be changed.

    I do find some of the recourse to logic and rhetoric and semantics a bit tiresome – is that a symptom of American education? That’s a genuine and not facetious question – I have a university education (with extra credit in massive brain-bending substance abuse) at a very well-regarded British university (medieval and modern history), where I paid very little attention to much, but we were certainly never taught ‘critical thinking’, which I have seen cited here before.

    Happy Tuesday! (usually Colin when I comment, but thought I’d try my Altar-ego today)

  • I find that commenting spurs me to think about subjects I might not otherwise focus on and generated the occasional intriguing thought to be followed up on later. I think that makes participating worthwhile.

    And compared to most of the rest of the blogosphere, the comments here really are of exceptionally high quality. Even though we have our share of idiots and mindless propagandists, we have more thoughtful – even if sometimes wrongheaded – participants than is typical of the blogosphere by a longshot, plus we’ve got more than one perspective represented here and much of the time the discourse is halfway reasonable, even in disagreement. That’s a hell of a difference from the echo chamber mentality that dominates right and left oriented sites.


  • Barack Obama is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but he is NOT a porn star.

  • RE: Zedd’s #14 The only thing I would change in what she wrote is that the Right isn’t taxing so much as it’s spending. Unprecidented budget deficit, don’t you know.


  • Maurice®

    Zedd #14

    Amen baby….

  • Clavos


    You, along with troll and gonzo, are also on my short list.

    And the “leak” possibility is, I think, why most of us keep on plugging.

  • Clavos

    “if its any help: I pay attention to what you write”

    It most certainly is.

    And you’re right about the “the wall of futility….”

  • I agree with Clavos to some degree. In many ways posting and/or commenting here can be viewed as a study in either self-adulation or self-flagellation. Little of what we do here goes outside this little box.

    On the other hand, if an idea or two happens to leak out and make its way through the maze to a few people and sets them to considering different view points, then maybe what we do here isn’t totally futile. (The key word there I think is “maybe.”)


  • troll

    hermano Al – having liberally sampled traditional Taos Lightning I know whereof you speak…

    Clavos – sounds like you have ‘hit the wall’ of futility as all BC commentors do within a couple of years…if its any help: I pay attention to what you write

  • Zedd

    Semites, Brothers, theatrical, neighbors?

  • Brother Troll! Glad you could come out from under your bridge to play! Yeah that white lightning from out here on Thunder Road’ll definitely cause you to make little mistakes like that Jew/Muslim thing.

  • Clavos

    …or anyone who posts on these threads thinking they’re accomplishing anything beyond feeding their Narcissism.

  • Not unlike yourself.

  • JustOneMan

    HandGuy…please dont let facts get in the way of dumbocrat propaganda..

    If Obama was white we would never have heard of him…he is nothong more than a light weight poser…


  • Maybe I missed something…does this article actually cite specifics for Fox’s alleged distortions? I am no fan of Fox “News,” but just stating that something happened doesn’t prove it. And virtually all the comments ignore this and just start the usual posturing.

    Everyone on this site immediately goes to their respective corners and starts shouting nonsense. “The real threat is the international left”?! Jeez louise…can we have a halfway intelligent discussion…for once?

  • CEQ

    all this time that you waste typing stupid shit could be spent getting girlfriends. now here comes the “CEQ is stupid” rants.

  • troll

    I hear white lightning’ll do that

  • D’oh! FNC is not trying to trick people into thinking Obama is MUSLIM, not Jewish. Sorry. I get ’em mixed up.

  • Oh Lord Ayn in heaven have mercy. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this whole article is absolutely baseless and paranoid and whiny and probably a half dozen other kinds of foolish.

    For starters, Fox News is obviously NOT trying to trick people into thinking Obama is Jewish. That claim is beyond paranoid and headed well out into being merely dumb.

    Some left wingnuts really need to quit being such a bunch of pussies. I haven’t seen anything like Fox News seriously cracking on Obama – but they most certainly should.

    He’s been handled by ALL major news media so far, including FNC, with kid gloves. But some of you lose your mind and start hollering about being victims the first tiny little hint of critical examination comes your guy’s way. You seem to think that you’re just so right that the country should just skip all that election crap and hand you the reins of power without daring to subject your guys to any questioning.

    But playing victim will get your Obama NOWHERE and fast running for POTUS. You see what it did for Hillary when she went with “The Politics of Pile On” crap after the first time she got halfway criticized in a debate.

    Look, this guy Obama thinks he should be president of the United States. If he can’t handle Fox News, then he’s got no business running for the job. Crying victimhood will not get the Commander in Chief of the US the least little bit of slack with our enemies and adversaries, and the public knows it. Even most Democrats and liberals instinctively turn away in disgust from such a display coming from a candidate for POTUS.

  • Vox asks – “Find us some better terms and we’ll use those.”

    ok… start here

    as it shows, we must look into not only “left” and “right”, but “authoritarian” and “anarchist” as well

    this shows a difference between lets say Libertarians (anarchist/right) and Neocons (authoritarian/right)

    this change in labeling dynamics demonstrates much more about similarities between some positions, and accurately denotes the full spectrum of political ideologies with much less chance of confusing conflation…

    example – i score one click to the Right of the Dalai Lama, same rung south into Anarchist territory… someone of a Libertarian bent, just a few more clicks to the Right of me has much more in common with my positions politically (anarchy as opposed to authoritarian), but we differ in economic viewpoint (the left to right paradigm)

    there’s a first step, simply done…but giving a much deeper picture of actual political landscape than the demagoguery of simplistic Left/Right that makes no difference between Gandhi and Stalin (one being anarch, the other statist), or Ayn Rand and Hitler (Libertarian versus Authoritarian)

    this takes quite a bit of ammunition away form those who seek only to incite and scream abotu simplistic differences to divide, rather than looking at common ground to foster Agreement and find solutions…

    there, could have made a whole Article out of it…but you folks get it cheap


  • Zedd


    Keep an eye on Sarkozy. That ain’t gonna end well.

  • Zedd

    Folks the truth is the Left / Right debate in the US is mute. The Right did not fulfilled its contract and from the way things look, it never intended to. The only thing that has happened is that people puffed up their resumes.

    – Abortion is still here
    – There is no prayer in school (and never will be)
    – The Right is taxing and spending the most
    – Clinton widdled down the welfare roles.
    – We are deeper in debt

    Since the rhetoric began, the Right simply became louder, more brash, paranoid, “perplexingly” dumber, weirder, religiously kooky and cruder, NOT fiscally responsible or responsive.

    Now Dave runs away from the fiasco that this is to expand the so called tug-a-war to the global stage where most people understand “VIVA LA DIFFERENCE” (except for small a splattering of neo-nazis and sociopathic dictators here and there).

  • It seems that to most of the right wingers here at BC and elsewhere, the best thing that could happen is if the Dems, and anyone with political leanings to the left of say, Mussolini should just give it up owing to their being totally out of touch, irrelevant, and yet, somehow a great danger to the world. We lefties are apparently in the eye of righties mindless but nevertheless dangerous slackers. According to Ms. Coulter, all Dems and other lefties should be arrested, tried, convicted and shot for treason. Many coservatives apparently agree. Very ecumenical, no?

    By the way, I have seen that since the “draft Gore” movement is floundering, a number of people, including several Reps have turned their attentions to Obama in yet another effort to thwart Hillary. They might consider bringing back Ronnie. Even dead, he probably could get enough votes for the Reps to keep the White House. Just sit him up in the Oval Office. Most people wouldn’t notice his being dead except maybe for the smell.


  • Gonzo, left and right are convenient terms. I think we’ve accomplished something now that we have some people understanding that there is a difference between the left in the US and the greater international left. Find us some better terms and we’ll use those.


  • Clavos

    In answer to thne question posed by the article’s title:

    Hopefully not.

  • oh puh-leEEEEEEeeeezzze

    can the neocons and their Apologists let it fucking go?

    tell me…China…Left or Right? big buddies to all those on the “Right”, ain’t they? as well as buddies to the DLC types on the American “left”

    too much bullshit, too much divisiveness about a non-existent boogeyman in a failed attempt to distract from the very tangible track record of what the American “Right” has done from 2000-2006 when they had total control of the U.S. government

    lots of “clear thinking” there, eh?

    put aside the false dichotomy of Left versus Right, NEVER listen to ANYONE from EITHER ficticious *side* when they start to spew…dig for the Facts and make up your own Mind

    as soon as some shitweasal tries to conflate “left” or “right” with “hating America” you have a certain Indicator that said speaker is either completely delusional, or full of shit and trying to sell you something

    there are “bad guys” of EVERY political and ideological stripe…just as there are “good guys” from all sides…

    when the fucktards break out the broad brush to paint whole swaths of the World with false Colors, you have another Indication that you have found part of the Problem, not part of any kind of Solution…

    your mileage may vary(lyrics)


  • Keep up the clear thinking, Silencio. It’s nice to see that there are a few who can see through the illusion of the left/right poilitics to realize that the real threat is the international left.


  • Howard Bowen

    What should a mega billion dollar affirmative action entitlement Billionaire do? Why doesn’t he get the supreme court to legislate racism as the cause for negative media coverage. Then O’ son of a martin-house Bama, who’s been laden with stress, could have the media network found unconstitutional, and outlawed.

  • Zedd


    Fight the urge. Pull out of your drone state. See, there is color… Look around, ahhhh, exhale. You do have a mind


    Stop thinking in terms of left and right, just THINK. Do you realize that the push for left vs right thinking was a political strategy? It was a campaign that was designed to make YOU vote for who they want you to vote for. In other words it was MADE UP so that you could give some guys POWER. That is all. Wake up!! The music has stopped. You can stop dancing.

    Oh and yes to the world we are eye rolling. Sorry. Without America, there would be another leading nation who would fill in just nicely. Humanity would go on. Get over it or us. Actually without humans the planet would go on just fine. No catastrophe.

  • Silencio

    Actually Zedd, the “world” doaesn’t dread America, the LEFT of the world dreads America. There is much talk about Fox brainwashing, but the evidence is all over liberal blogs that the mainstream media and press (NYT, CNN, basically all the local news outlets and editorial pages of major newspapers)has done a fantastic job of brainwashing the masses that “the world” dreads America.

    Truth is, the left can feel dreadful about America all it wants. It says more about them than it says about America.

    What lefties don’t grasp is a world WITHOUT America would be truely dreadful. Unless of course you went to college and believe that if America vanished, our friends in Iran, Syria, N Korea, China ect would drop their weapons and pick up flowers and join hands in peace rallies. Amazing.

  • Zedd


    Wake up. Arise from your slumber. The Stepford Wife thing is no longer cute. The world dreads us and people are dying in Iraq.

  • golfmann

    Oh, but the NY Times et al’s outright lies and propaganda for decades is ok?

  • Zedd

    Fox News only illuminates the extent to which we have gone simple. We have come to believe in our greatness as a nation and have wrongly come to believe that we as individuals are great, actually greater, keener and more relevant than others around the globe.

    What Fox News shows us is just how easily pliable and “uncurious” a large portion of us is. It shows just how easily we could turn into a banana republic. Fox, Rush, this administration and the religious right possess the elements that produce an oppressive kleptocratic dictatorship yet they have a significant following. We dare thumb our noses at those who live in struggling societies under tyranny, unaware that our drone like acceptance of rubbish would lead us to the same end if it were not for a few among us who balance the scales and fight for that great document that protects us all despite ourselves.

    Not so off topic side note….

    Who would get to decide who gets water-boarded?

  • Thanks, RJ, we’re looking into it.

  • RJ

    The HTML needs an edit…