Tucker Carlson: I thought you were going to be funny.  Come on!

Jon Stewart: No, no.  I'm not going to be your monkey. 

("Crossfire", Oct. 15, 2004) 

Do you guys remember this moment on CNN's "Crossfire" a couple of years ago?  You know that Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala do.  That was the day that a talk show host from a fake news show on a comedy network came on their supposedly erudite and intelligent show and inflicted mortal wounds on both men's careers (although Tucker's is still on life support, apparently) and drove a harpoon so deeply into "Crossfire" itself that the show was gone within eight weeks.  Ipso facto.  Kaput.

I was watching live that day, which is funny because I never watched "Crossfire", but I remember sitting there and thinking, "Is this really happening?  This is almost too good to be true!"

I remember thinking, "Look how simple this is.  Now, why don't more people go on these ridiculous shows and speak their mind?  Why doesn't any Democrat who goes on Pox News take exactly this approach?"

Now, two years later, the media and political ecosystems are going through a major tectonic shift.  Right Wing Hate isn't quite the blue-chip stock it used to be, and it looks like some folks are finally wising up to the toxicity of Fox. 

Normally, I wouldn't do this, but I'm going to send you over to The Politico.  No, no, it's okay.  It's a column by My Main Man Matt Stoller about why the Dems were right to bail out of that Fox-sponsored goat-fuck, er, debate.  And there's nary a Pool Boy in sight.

To wit:

Over the past three weeks or so, the progressive movement – bloggers, Moveon.org, grassroots activists, filmmakers – pressured the Nevada Democratic Party to drop Fox News as the host of a presidential debate in August. In pursuing this short campaign, we made two basic arguments that were eventually accepted by party leaders.

First, we argued that Fox News is not a news channel, but a propaganda outlet that regularly distorts, spins, and falsifies information. Second, Fox News is heavily influenced or even controlled by the Republican Party itself. As such, we believe that Fox News on the whole functions as a surrogate operation for the GOP. Treating Fox as a legitimate news channel extends the Republican Party’s ability to swift-boat and discredit our candidates. In other words, Fox News is a direct pipeline of misinformation from the GOP leadership into the traditional press.

And Pox News does NOT WANT TO HEAR THAT.  Oh, no.  They're about to bust a gut over there.  From Think Progress:

Tonight, Bill O’Reilly attacked the “radical movement” that opposed the Nevada Democratic Party’s debate with Fox News. O’Reilly said that MoveOn, “the Daily Kos or whatever that stupid thing is,” and others “use propaganda techniques perfected by Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of information. They lie, distort, defame, all the time.” Progressive activists attack Fox News because “we report on them accurately,” O’Reilly said.

No, dickhead.  We don't want anything to do with Fox because you are (in the words of Mr. Dickens) "vile and slanderous calumniators".  And trust me.  We're not the Nazis here.  If you're going to invoke Godwin's Law, Mr. O'Reilly, you should bear in mind that Hitler was NOT an out-of-control liberal, no matter what Ann Coulter says.

But, back to Mr. Stoller:

Falsifying information that is favorable to Republicans and problematic for Democrats is a regular tactic of Fox News. Specific examples are breathtakingly dishonest, including the Obama Madrassa smear, Carl Cameron's false claims that John Kerry referred to himself as a “metrosexual” and “news anchor” Brit Hume repeating the false canard that the public does not trust the Democratic Party on national defense.

Yes, but people who watch it know that it's biased, right?

Well, no.  

But it's the sweep of the disinformation campaign that suggests a genuine pattern of propagandistic manipulation of the public. The Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland conducted a study in October 2003 of public knowledge and attitudes about current events, focusing on media consumption habits.  The study examined three generic misconceptions about the march to war in Iraq – alleged WMDs, purported Iraqi involvement in 9/11, and supported international support for a U.S. invasion of Iraq. While three-fifths of Americans held at least one of these misconceptions at the time, speaking to the poor quality of American punditry, Fox News viewers stood out – their viewers were "three times more likely than the next nearest network to hold all three misperceptions."

More than 80 percent of Fox News viewers had a basic factual misconception about the war in Iraq, which were coincidentally used by the Bush administration to justify their policies at the time.
This should not be a surprise, as the leadership of Fox News is heavily tied into the Republican Party apparatus.

Fox News hurts America.  It's actively making people dumber and more susceptible to governmental manipulation.

Falsification of information is bad enough for an outlet channel that calls itself a news organization, but the overt ties to the Republican Party are deeply disturbing for our democracy as a whole. This is not an ideological argument about diversity – Fox News is not really a conservative news channel, it is a Republican propaganda and surrogate operation, as Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch seem to have baked into their business model a wholesale allegiance to the Republican Party.

Can I just get everyone to shout that together real loud one time?

FOX NEWS IS NOT NEWS! 

Okay?  Democrats, are you listening?  Fox News is nothing but a propaganda mill.  Any and all stories and commentaries on Fox News end the same way, i.e., Republicans are good and Democrats are bad.  Period.  They barely even play at a pretense of objectivity. 

Any attempt by Democrats to make nice with Fox is doomed from the outset.  The Nevada debate was a set-up, an ambush.  Nevada Democrats did the right thing by telling Fox where they could stick it.  We need more of this, please.  And we, the netroots, need to pound this into the heads of any Democrats who will listen: 

Fox News is determined to destroy you.  In their ideological casino, all the games are fixed and the house always wins.  Unless you're Joe Lieberman, Fox is going to find a way to discredit, drown out, and humiliate you.  It is their sole purpose in the world.  Nothing that they say will ever, ever truly be "fair and balanced".

But this is exactly where we want the conversation going right now.  We want people to be actively questioning Pox's credibility.  And as for Fox, we just want you to know that we're not your monkeys anymore.  We know what you're doing and we've known for years.  When the Dems dropped their plans for the debate, Matt Drudge immediately proclaimed it "WAR!".

Well, for once Mattress Drudge may have gotten something right.  Yes, it is a war.  And the Free Media are the guerrilla troops.  We may never be able to break down and dismantle the Reich Wing's message machine, but we can sure stop dutifully wandering into their traps and snares.  And maybe, just maybe set a few traps of our own.

Give em hell, Matt Stoller!  That's the fucking spirit!  Yeeeeeeeeaahh!!

Never defend.

Never explain.

ATTAAAAAAAAAACK!!!