Fair and Balanced

A single tree or a small puppy can cause more pollution annually than all the SUV's in the world. This is true, it was on FOX News. Also a lot of people don't know that Cindy Sheehan murdered her own son & then made it look like he died in Iraq. I've heard that no one has actually died in Iraq, but that Bill Clinton & Jimmy Carter have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians with their bare hands. History will straighten all this out, and George W. Bush will be known as the bravest & wisest president that this great nation has ever had. Just ask Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or any of the other scholarly sages. It's all true. Saddam Hussein actually piloted the first plane that hit the World Trade Center. You can clearly see him in the news video escaping at the last second in a hang glider and smirking at America. God Bless the Republicans for getting us, our children, and our grandchildren in debt. That's what I call vision, with a capital "V". How else can young people learn about character unless they suffer hardship? I want to take money from orphans and give it to the wealthy Enron executives. They need the money to defend themselves from all the false charges that were brought against them by Cindy Sheehan, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Jane Fonda & Mother Teresa. God bless the brave men of Fox News....

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Dog Bites Man, Hannity Supports Bush

Being America's premier wire service and the largest such organization in the world is not the easiest thing in the world to do, but the Associated Press still functions quite well and reports on important and interesting stories nearly 160 years after its founding. Not every atricle can be a gem, however. For instance, take a look at the lede of a David Bauder story currently on the wires:

Sean Hannity will not abandon ship. President Bush's approval ratings have sunk into the 30s, but Fox News Channel's tenacious conservative isn't wavering in his support, even while parting ways with the president over immigration and the Dubai ports deal.

Is this newsworthy whatsoever? Is it really a surprise that someone who is essentially a parrot for the Bush White House, someone who toes the Republican Party line night in and night out regardless of how ridiculous the talking points of the day might be, would continue to support President Bush?

I understand that Bauder is constrained by the tenets of his medium, primarily that the AP -- perhaps rightly -- tries to separate analytical content from pure reporting. But this is a piece begging for a wider perspective, which could have easily been achieved through a quote from Ken Auletta or someone else of his ilk (save for Howie Kurtz, of course).

The article is sorely lacking a juicy quote from Auletta or another quotable figure well versed in media theory -- and there are quite a few of them out there -- saying something to the effect of "Hannity's continuing and unwavering support of the President, regardless of the clear failure of some of his policies, exemplifies Fox News' role in the Republican noise machine," or "The fact that Sean Hannity backs the President no matter the circumstance indicates that he is less a serious commenter and more a Republican operative who is given airtime by Fox News." If Bauder still can't find a professor of media studies, he can feel free to use one of my quotes instead or one of your comments from the thread below, I'm sure. But without providing even an iota of context to Sean Hannity, Bauder is simply forwarding a press release about his Fox News program, and just how worthy of newsprint is that?

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Framing Cheney

Oh, to be a fly on the wall when the right-wing noise machine is in full gear! To hear them paint liberals as angry. To hear them say we're soft on terror. To hear them call us unpatriotic.

While numerous important questions remain in the wake of Vice President Cheney's shooting of hunting companion Harry Whittington, the official Republican frame of this story is emerging: Blame the media.

Blame them, as several Fox News hosts have, for making a mountain out of a molehill. Blame them, as Rush Limbaugh did, for wishing Whittington dead to further persecute the administration. Blame them, as Cheney did, for being angry about being scooped by a Texas newspaper.

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Fox killing the story that won't die

The sitting vice president shoots a 78-year-old man with a shotgun while hunting illegally. Then he avoids authorities. Then the administration actively covers up key details. Then the victim has a minor heart attack. But Bill O'Reilly doesn't think it matters. It "affects no one," he said. "Means nothing."

His Fox colleague, Brit Hume, said the incident is "much ado about not really much." Sean Hannity criticized the "very hostile media" for asking Scott McClellan about the shooting. Neil Cavuto, meanwhile, accused the press corps of "trying to create a White House scandal that simply does not exist."

Try as they might, our Fox friends won't be able to kill the story that won't die. There are too many unanswered questions. There are too many dodges and misdirections. There are too many holes in the story.

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Twitter and the Cowardice of Sarah Palin

Originally posted at Cagle.

When I joined Twitter in July 2006 I was the 3,365th person to sign up for the 140-character message streaming social network. Now, with more than 190 million users having taken the plunge, I guess you could call me an early adopter of sorts.

See, I've always believed that the Internet -- and by extension new online tools like Twitter -- have the ability to create change because it levels the political playing field tearing down walls that have traditionally separated the powerless and the powerful.

It turns out I may have been wrong -- at least when it comes to a certain half-termer from Alaska.

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