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September 14, 2007

General “Betray Us”: FOX Gets On It …Gratis


You can tell Campaign ‘08 is well under way now, given the vicious attacks on MoveOn for daring to question the political independence of General Petraeus.

As coordinated and vengeful as the broadsides are, however, what is even more disturbing is the willing role played by the media to provide validation and exposure.  Take this report last evening at The Caucus, for example.  Previewing the controversy surrounding Bush’s non-speech on Iraq, the NYT blog juxtaposed, in equal significance, John Boehner’s statement that the war was “a small price to pay” (whether that implied lives lost and injured, as many on the left claimed, or simply dollars) and the false-loyalty test the right was trying to force on Democratic candidates relative to their “stance” on the Move-On ad.

Meanwhile, the screen shot above provides an interesting counterpoint to remarks made yesterday by chairman of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, Tom Cole.  Mr. Cole attacked the NYT for supposedly offering the non-profit MoveOn a preferential price for the full page ad.

Said Cole, as quoted in the NYT:

The New York Times is free to run any ad it chooses at any price, though there is good reason to believe that giving’s Political Action Committee preferential pricing may violate F.E.C. regulations. It is fair to ask whether organizations espousing a pro-administration or conservative point of view have ever been offered comparable discounts. Certainly no reputable electronic media outlet would charge candidates, political parties or advocacy groups different rates for the same commercial time.

Gee, Tom.  Given the role FOX News plays as the Administration’s broadcast arm, and here, the absolutely free mouthpiece for the MoveOn backlash, it seems a surprise that the progressive organization (which reported paying $65,000 for the ad) would have been charged anything at all.

Re: the image more specifically, it seems we owe a debt of gratitude to Jon Stewart (building on the work of SNL News, and many others) for ultimately severing the old reflexive visual association that a guy sitting behind a news desk on national TV somehow deserves any form of consideration or deference, or conveys even a shred objectivity.

… Meanwhile, given all the fat but so little meat served up last week, isn’t Francisco Franco still dead?

(image: Kevin Wolf/AP.  September 10, 2007. Washington. via YahooNews.  Caption: Brit Hume, right, talks with Gen. David Petraeus about a ad during an interview on FOX News on Monday)

  • KansasKowboy

    After watching Petraeus on the news over the last several weeks and learning of his relationship with the Chief of Staff who doesn’t think very much of Petraeus, and then learning of his desire to run for President in 2012, I have come to realise that not only is military history repeating itself in Iraq parrallel to the Viet Nam war, but also we now have a 21st Century Custer in General Petraeus. Will he meet the same fate as Custer? I doubt it. Perhaps his political and military “death” will come by the bullets and arrows of popular opinion.

  • Bluegrass Poet

    Custer did put himself in the line of fire. Are modern day generals ever actually on the battlefield?

  • bob h

    I have been trying to get a check to MoveOn, but the donations page seems to be too busy to use. I think the attack on Betrayeus was appreciated by many of us.

  • donna

    MoveOn has over 3 million members now. My own political activism really started with MoveOn – it gave us all a way to connect. Living in a heavily Republican area, it was a way for those of us who have never been politically active before a way to get involved and form other connections.
    The interesting part is that in my own MoveOn group there are Democrats, Republicans, Greens and Libertarians. It is NOT tied to a particular party, but is a true progressive movement. I think MoveOn is a true sea change for American politics and the beginning of the end of the two party system.
    People want real change and the parties are not providing it.

  • PTate in FR

    A recent Media Matters report that found significant conservative bias on the op-ed pages. And there was an interesting study reported in the LATimes that liberals and conservatives process information differently: Liberals are more flexible and more accurate in spotting and adapting to environmental changes.
    It is astonishing that they don’t see how Fox News is basically an arm of the WH press, but they evidently don’t. They think Fox News is fair and balanced.

  • KingElvis

    Where was the outrage when Anne Coulter came out with “Treason” ?
    I always think Dems are WAY too deferential. If the GOP is going to take the gloves off with this kind of crap, the Dems need to punch back harder.
    I was kind of glad to see the ad – just because it shows that the left doesn’t have to play by different rules. In some way’s it’s lame and probably not effective, but I like the principle of more muscular attacks.

  • garyb50
  • nancy wiebe

    The price that MoveOn paid for their ad is a non-issue. Almost anyone could get their price if they don’t require an ad to be run on a specific day; just when the paper has the space. Threats to call in the FCC are beyond the pale since Tom Cole didn’t have all the facts.
    We should start calling Fox “News” ‘Fox Pravda’ instead, since it is obviously a vital propaganda arm of the GOP…

  • MonsieurGonzo

    international visitors to The BAG, perhaps others will no doubt find Glenn Greenwald’s description of this prime-time American “news” broadcast fascinating; it features General Petraeus being ‘interviewed’ by an entertainer named Brit Hume posing as a ‘journalist’ or anchorman apparent :
    The model for the entire hour was not a journalist asking questions of government leaders, but instead, a direct examination at a trial, where a friendly lawyer gently leads his own witness to present claims in the most persuasive manner possible ~ the lawyer interrupting only to clarify his witness’ statements and to provide helpful suggestions as to how the witness can make his case even more effectively.
    Like a professor lecturing his class, Petraeus held a pointer, and had notes in front of him indicating the sequence of the screens. When he was done explaining one happy ‘Good News’ screen, the next one popped up, and he proceeded that way — with no challenge whatsoever — to present his [screen labeled] “Briefing for America.” Mr. Hume sat by quietly and reverently, opening his mouth only to add information to make Petraeus’ point clearer. The “interview” was engineered and scripted by the U.S. military, with Hume playing the rôle of Master of Ceremonies.
    Mr. Greenwald bitterly concludes: “I defy anyone to watch this hour-long ["news"] program and identify anything at all that would be different if the ‘interview’ had been conducted with a Soviet General by Pravda, or if the ‘interview’ had been conducted by a U.S. military spokesman.”

  • lytom

    Black and white add in the photo, gives impression of Nuremberg trial.

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