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 April, 2006


 An examination of Fox News propaganda

Is Fox News Losing its Mind?
The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Volume One - A Reckoning
Chapter VI: War Propaganda

By Al Owens

That happily conservative pundit Bill Bennett was at it again the other day. He’d already stoked another verbal bonfire with his statements about the awarding of two Pulitzer Prizes to reporters (James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times, and Dana Priest of the Washington Post) whose stories had revealed the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program, and those alleged CIA secret interrogation sites in Europe.

Bennett said they should be jailed rather than honored with an award. A day later he was asked to clarify his statement. He told his fellow CNN staff member John Roberts that if Judy Miller (that New York Times reporter who was jailed for not revealing the source of a story she never wrote) had been sent to jail, then Lichtblau, Risen and Priest should, at least, suffer a similar fate.

When reminded that Miller had been jailed for contempt of court, because she wouldn’t reveal her source during a court proceeding. And that those three Pulitzer Prize winners couldn’t be held in contempt of court, because they haven’t even been to court, Bennett offered the silliest of explanations!

“Well, er (and I’m paraphrasing here) if they are called to testify, then, ah, they’ll probably refuse to blurt out their sources, so then er, they should be jailed.”

Thus is the world of gotcha punditspeak these days. Reporters should be heading to jail for what could happen. Bill Bennett now works for CNN. If he still offered his proposed jail sentences for Fox News, I’m figuring he wouldn’t have said those award winning reporters should be heading to jail. He’d be openly hoping for their beheadings.

By the end of the day he made those statements, however, they were already rendered (partially at least) moot. Somebody at the CIA had already leaked to the media (perhaps illegally) the name of the source of the CIA leaks – CIA analyst Mary McCarthy. She’s been fired. She’s now under investigation for handing over information about the interrogation sites to a reporter.

None of this is particularly bothersome. What follows is.

Fox News continued to question why the reporters got prizes rather than prison stripes all weekend. The “Beltway Boys”, a weekend pep rally for the Bush administration made it quite clear that the Pulitzer Prize was only for liberal journalists. That anybody with conservative points of view (read Fox News) need not apply! They offered as proof those three journalists with brand new Pulitzers. One can expect that kind of talk from Fred Barnes (the executive editor of the ultra conservative Weekly Standard) and Mort Kondracke, whose hardest job in life has been to take what Fred Barnes says seriously. But by Sunday morning, even the Fox News faux news shows were hammering away at the misplaced awards.

Fox and Friends, the early morning talk/news/entertainment show that mixes spirited reports and discussions about the War in Iraq with highly sensitive facts about holiday recipes or whoopee cushions, opened on Sunday morning with the show’s three hosts in near tears over the apparent injustice of having those reporters still walking around our communities, while that exposed CIA analyst could be on her way to jail.

It never seemed to bother them that their profession is dependent on whistleblowers like Mary McCarthy. (Or it used to be, before they started working for Fox News). They never mentioned that those journalists haven’t committed any crimes. They failed to disclose that they’ve never spent five minutes talking about beer guts, or bikinis for a living. And most importantly, they’ve never worked for Fox News!