Pimps, Pedophiles, Priests, and Fox News

I only recently discovered Father Jonathan Morris, a web and on-air commentator for Fox News.  I have no way of knowing if Father Jonathan genuinely believes the things he writes and says, or if he's simply hiring out his clerical collar in an effort to bestow faux moral legitimacy on the standard menu of right wing talking points.

That Fox bills him as their "Papal contributor" strongly suggests the latter.  Iconoclastic columnist James Wolcott seems to view Father Jonathan in that light as well.  In a Vanity Fair column from last fall, Wolcott wrote, "Leave it to Fox News to find the first neocon pinup priest to sign up as an on-air analyst."

Under the fold: shepherds and sheep...

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I Can't Believe That Any Democrat Wouldn't Be Shocked and Outraged by The Rupert Murdoch Fundraiser

Whatever Rupert Murdoch's personal beliefs may be, Fox News is nothing more than the Ministry of Propaganda for the Republican Party (see Robert Greenwald's documentary "Out Foxed").

Wasn't it Fox News that allowed John Ellis, a cousin of George W. Bush, to call Florida for the Republicans in 2000, before all the votes had even been counted? Are we supposed to just forget that now and make nice with Rupert because it will further Hillary Clinton's ambitions, whatever they may be? Do they really think that we are that shallow?

Enough is enough people. I'm sick and tired of seeing progressives being used as a doormat by the national Democratic Party. It's time for us to organize, support progressive candidates like Jonathan Tasini, join PDA, start electing our own district leaders, state committee persons and take back the damn party. It's time for us to vigorously stand up for what we believe in: no more resource wars, one single and verifiable voting method from coast to coast and county to county, no more trade deals that are sapping our wage base and destroying the ladder to the middle class and, as for Bush and his cabal, impeachment would be letting them off easy as far as I'm concerned.

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Where's Our Fox News?

I don't watch Fox News. In fact, upon having cable installed a couple of months ago I put a parental block on the channel so that I need to punch in a security code if I ever want to turn on the channel -- a trick I learned from my brother-in-law who did not want his conservative father watching FNC when he came over to his house. Turns out my brother-in-law and I are fairly wise.

Washington Post columnist Richard Morin (via Political Wire) reported this week on a recent study by a couple of economists that found that watching Fox News may have palpable effects on one's voting patterns -- an effect that in the macro may have helped change the results of at least one close election.

We report. You decide. Does President Bush owe his controversial win in 2000 to Fox cable television news?

Yes, suggest data collected by two economists who found that the growth of the Fox cable news network in the late 1990s may have significantly boosted the Republican Party's share of the vote in the 2000 election and delivered Florida to Bush.

"Our estimates imply that Fox News convinced 3 to 8 percent of its audience to shift its voting behavior towards the Republican Party, a sizable media persuasion effect," said Stefano DellaVigna of the University of California at Berkely and Ethan Kaplan of Stockholm University.

In Florida alone, they estimate, the Fox effect may have produced more than 10,000 additional votes for Bush -- clearly a decisive factor in a state he carried by fewer than 600 votes.

The first lesson to learn from this study might be to follow the lead of my brother-in-law and stick a parental block on Fox News -- particularly if you have children of impressionable ages. There's little worse than waking up one day and finding out that your son or daughter has become a raging conservative (a la Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You), so shielding your children from FNC might not be the worst idea in the world.

But the larger lesson from this piece is that there is severe unbalance in cable news. While the Republican Party has a channel that is wooing voters over to its side, the Democratic Party is clearly lacking in such critical infrastructure -- not to mention the fact that there is a clear dearth of progressive voices in political television.

If progressives are serious about retaking the reins of power in this country -- not just marginally, narrowly winning an election here or there, but coming to possess the type of power the GOP currently wields in Washington -- they must build the requisite infrastructure. The Center for American Progress, Air America and other such endeavors (yes, including the progressive blogosphere) are good starts, but they must only be thought of as a start. Until the infrastructure of the Democratic Party and its allies is even comparable with that of the GOP (I'm not talking parity here, only competitiveness), it's going to be extremely difficult for institutional change to be enacted in this country.

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Confessions of a Former Dittohead

Here's a good story, and a plug for more progressive publishing, jerome

My wife and I run Ig Publishing, an independent press based in Brooklyn, NY that publishes liberal/progressive nonfiction. Being loyal readers of Daily Kos, we discovered, early in 2005, a series of diaries on the site called Confessions of a Former Dittohead. The Confessions series detailed one man's transformation from a Rush Limbaugh-loving,gay-hating, pro-tax cutting, anti-abortion "dittohead" into a liberal Democrat. The diaries really struck a chord with us, and we thought that they would make an excellent book, so we got in touch with the author, whose name is Jim Derych, and now, a little over a year later, CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER DITTOHEAD, the book, is in stores.

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A Fox in the White House

It was a natural move, really.

When a Republican administration refuses ownership of its failures, instead painting its problems as those of poor communication, things like this happen. When a Republican network convinces the White House that better spokespeople, not better policies, are the answer and that they know just the right man for the job, already questionable relationships become incestuous in short order.

So it was no surprise to see former Fox News personality Tony Snow replace the beleaguered Scott McClellan as official White House mouthpiece. Equally unsurprising, sadly, is that many Americans won't recognize this for the shameless ploy it is. Then again, America has largely been unrecognizable since President Bush took office.

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