Posted by: maboulette | August 8, 2010

PERPETUAL DISHONESTY MACHINE

Every day, the conservative noise machine — Fox News, Beck, Limbaugh, and other prominent conservative talk radio hosts and bloggers — hurl false accusations with the hopes of damaging the Obama administration, Democrats, and progressives politically. Make no mistake: this is the primary motivation for the majority of the stories they promote. Pesky things like “facts” and “reality” are, at best, a trivial concern.

From Fox Nation Website

From Fox Nation Website

Often, these attacks are baseless, easily debunked, and laughably absurd — yet conservative media outlets rarely (if ever) offer corrections when they are proven wrong. Instead they either double down on their attacks or simply ignore that they were wrong in the first place and move on to the next overhyped bit of nonsense.

While it may seem like a minor story in the grand scheme of things, one example from last week perfectly exemplifies the utter lack of journalistic standards endemic to conservative media.

Early last week, conservatives were in their usual panic mode over what they claimed was evidence that the Obama administration “backed” or “preferred” the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the terrorist better known as the Lockerbie bomber. As was pointed out, reports — often the same reports these conservatives were linking to in order to make their arguments — indicated that the administration wanted Megrahi to remain imprisoned, with the stipulation that if he were to be released, he should remain in Scotland rather than risk him receiving an “extremely inappropriate” “welcoming reception” upon being transferred to Libya.

Fox News twisted reality to claim that the “U.S. Backed Freedom, Not Prison, for Bomber.” Matt Drudge splashed a huge headline across his website announcing that the “White House Backed Release Of Lockerbie Bomber.” Pam Geller — whose deranged rantings have earned her frequent appearances on Fox News and bylines on Andrew Breitbart’s “Big” websites, Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller, and the American Thinker — called for a “special investigation” and a “charge of treason” for Obama.

Rush Limbaugh — while bragging, as he often does, that he was “executing assigned host duties flawlessly” with “zero mistakes” —claimed that Obama “backed the release” of the Lockerbie bomber because he wanted to “make nice with the Muslim world.”

Late Monday, when the State Department released the administration’s correspondence with the Scottish Ministry of Justice, it confirmed in unambiguous terms that the administration was “not prepared to support Megrahi’s release on compassionate release or bail,” and that “it would be most appropriate for Megrahi to remain imprisoned for the entirety of his sentence.”

So, after this story completely fell apart, did conservative media figures correct the record and let their readers/listeners/viewers know that the administration did not “support” or “prefer” the release of the Lockerbie bomber?

Of course not.

Conservative blogger Jim Hoft — whose ongoing popularity and influence in conservative media says a lot about their complete indifference to accuracy and credibility — linked to the letter and proclaimed that the administration “preferred” his release. This was akin to pointing at the ground and saying “this is the sky.”

Fox Nation, almost 48 hours after the story had completely fallen apart, still had the following headline and image on their front page:

From Fox Website

And you can be sure that in a few months, whenever Sean Hannity or anyone else in the noise machine decides to twist a news story to claim that the Obama administration is “weak on terror,” they’ll point to the time the administration supposedly “preferred the release of the Lockerbie bomber” in order to buttress their point.

It’s a perpetual dishonesty machine.


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