Of Course Gretchen Carlson Was Sexually Harassed At Fox News….So Why Didn’t She Sue Before She Was Fired?

Ex Fox Blonde Gretchen Carlson and Fox stud-muffin Roger Aisles

Ex-Fox Blonde Gretchen Carlson and Fox stud-muffin Roger Ailes

Gretchen Carlson is suing Fox News Chair Roger Ailes for retaliating against her for refusing his sexual advances. I don’t know whether her allegations, which are disturbing to say the least, are true. The most sensational of them is her claim that Ailes, when she came to him to complain about sexual harassment from her co-hosts on “Fox and Friends,” said, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better.”

Cowabunga.

Ailes denies her account, but then, he would whether it was true or not, for that statement is pure, unadulterated sexual harassment by all by itself.

Indeed, a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox by Carlson once would be such a slam dunk that it is interesting that she never brought one. I stopped watching “Fox & Friends” in part because Carlson was harassed almost every day by co-hosts Seven Doocy and Brian Kilmead, and it made me angry, and to some extent angry at Carlson for putting up with it.

In 2009, Carlson  complained to a supervisor that Doocy “had created a hostile work environment by regularly treating her in a sexist and condescending way, including by putting his hand on her and pulling down her arm to shush her during a live telecast.”  Indeed he had. You can see examples of this repeated and juvenile conduct here and here. In her suit, Carlson says that her co-hosts had been “mocking [Gretchen] during commercial breaks, shunning her off air, refusing to engage with her on air, belittling her contributions to the show, and generally attempting to put her in her place by refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful journalist rather than a blonde female prop.” To this, Ailes reportedly told Carlson that she was a “man hater” and “killer'”and said  that she needed to learn to “get along with the boys.”  Continue reading

Trump’s New Jersey Muslims 9-11 Celebration Lie Justifies A Nazi Label

trump-salute

The current controversy—except there’s no disagreement on the facts, so it isn’t really a controversy—over Donald Trump’s unretracted statement that he saw “thousands” of New Jersey Muslims celebrating the Twin Towers’ destruction on 9-11 is materially different from the other items on the list of his various outrageous insults, vulgarities and misrepresentations. It’s a Big Lie, the device perfected and employed by Hitler and Goebbels, a weapon of totalitarianism. Other American politicians and leaders have dabbled in the technique, of course. I flagged the false accusation that the Republicans “stole” the 2000 Presidential election as a Big Lie; so is the Democratic cant that Bush “lied” about weapons of mass destruction. The “War on Women” is a Big Lie. Birthers are engaging in Big Lie politics—so is Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla), who insists that Ted Cruz isn’t a “natural born” American. The Truthers are Big Liars. Black Lives Matter was built on the Big Lies that Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown were murdered. The current claim, being treated with disgusting respect by journalists, that white America is engaged in systematic black genocide is a Big Lie.

Most of these, however, are really Little Big Lies. They are dangerous and destructive, but not in Goebbel’s league. Trump, however, is using a Big Lie to impugn the patriotism and trustworthiness of a group of citizens based on their religion and cultural heritage, and attempting to stir up purely group-based hate. To hell with Hanlon: this is Nazi Propaganda 101, and deserves to be identified as such directly to Donald Trump’s face.

There is no debate over whether Trump could have “seen” thousands of Muslims whooping it up on TV (like blacks celebrating O.J.’s acquittal for gutting his wife), because no such video was taken, broadcast, or archived. If there were such celebrations, Trump didn’t see them, unless he somehow obtained George Burns’ magic TV from the old Burns and Allen sitcom, on which George was able to see what his wife, friends and neighbors were doing while he chatted with the TV audience. If Trump did see such a non-existent broadcast, he couldn’t have seen “thousands,” unless there was a ’round the state relay, like they do on New Years Eve at midnight, going around the country to show simultaneous celebrations.

Trump didn’t see it. He couldn’t have. There is no controversy.

Yet he still claims he did, and has a team of paid liars telling media interviewers he did. He could have said he was mistaken; he could have said that he confused televised scenes of Muslims abroad celebrating (though not “thousands”) with accounts of some Muslims celebrating in New Jersey, and apologized. He didn’t though. He stuck to a false story after he had to know it was wrong, and that makes it a lie. The fact that the lie tacitly suggests that American citizens of the Muslim faith lack loyalty to their nation and love of their fellow citizens whom they cheered to see murdered  makes it a Big Lie. Continue reading

Not Funny, Just Hateful, Harmful And Wrong: The New York Post’s Despicable Post-Election Front Page

Post Obama STRIPPED

Yes, I know the New York Post has made an art form of in-your-face, outrageous, I-can’t-believe-they-printed-that headlines and front page shenanigans, epitomized by the deathless classic, “Headless Body Found In Topless Bar.”

Yes, I know that Post is owned by Australian schlockmeister Rupert Murdoch, and yes, I know that the Obama-hating market is large and especially enthusiastic after the Tuesday Night Massacre Democrats just suffered under President Obama’s leadership.

And yes, I know that this is essentially a cartoon via photoshop, and that insisting that the Office of the President must retain its dignity after Bill Clinton got through with it and Democrats en masse declared that it didn’t matter how disgusting a POTUS’s  “personal” conduct was in the White House as long as poll numbers were high and unemployment was low, so come on, Bill: lead our national convention in condemning how Republicans denigrate women!

I know all that. It doesn’t matter. Barack Obama is the President of the United States, and this kind of personal, disrespectful ridicule insults not just him, but the office he holds, the nation, and every citizen of the United States of America. If this front page were published in France or England, I would regard it as an attack and an insult. Where is the line where legitimate editorial criticism becomes vicious, culture-poisoning disrespect and a breach of ethical journalism standards? I don’t know; we can argue about it. Wherever the line is, this is over it, by a lot. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce (Live Performance Division): “Fox and Friends” Host Steve Doocy

Daughtry

Boy, do I hate when someone does this.

Especially when they do it to me. Unfortunately, for him, the victim this time was Chris Daughtry.

On June 6, the 70th anniversary of the D-Day, Fox and Friends had rocker Chris Daughtry and his band performing (for some reason: D for Daughtry?). Later, during the after-show, host Steve Doocy was overcome with patriotism and bad musical taste and suggested that Daughtry return to sing a “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee” extemporaneously with the other hosts, Anna Kooiman, Clayton Morris, and Heather Childers.

Daughtry, nicely but unequivocally, refused, causing an awkward scene, and also bringing down a barrage of abuse on himself from Fox viewers, so much so that he later felt the need to explain and apologize in a video.

He shouldn’t have. Doocy was way out of line, incredibly so, for someone supposedly in a branch of show business. It is rude and unfair to put a performer on the spot in front of an audience and 1) ask him or her to perform something unplanned and unrehearsed; 2) to request musical services that were not required in the contract, essentially as free entertainment,  and 3) worst of all, to frame it as a patriotic act, making Daughtry look like a villain when he refused, as he should have, when the singer was in truth the victim of Doocy’s clueless presumptuousness.

Doocy and Fox owe Daughtry an apology. No performer, ever, should be put in this  position without his prior knowledge and consent.

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Pointer and Facts: Mediaite

 

AM Cable News Horror: Fox Eliminates All Doubt

Unfair, imbalanced, and proud of it!

Thoroughly traumatized and disillusioned by the blatant partisan cheerleading on CNN’s “American Morning”–courtesy of Carol Costello and Soledad O’Brien—-I made the quite idiotic mistake of having today’s morning coffee to “Fox and Friends,” the Fox News counterpart. Despite the fact that I already knew that jumping from CNN to Fox News as a respite from biased reporting was like leaving the Titanic for a quiet voyage on the Hindenburg, I was still shocked at what I saw.

Head morning stooge Steve Doocy introduced “a look back” at President Obama’s 2008 campaign. What followed was a long, slick attack ad, contrasting film footage of various Obama “Hope and Change”- themed speeches and campaign pledges, such as his infamous promise to halve the deficit by the end of his first term, intercut with contrasting images, statistics and graphs making a mockery of his words. “Ah!”, thought I. “They are showing the latest Republican National Committee ad. I certainly hope the Republicans paid the going rate for this, because it would be unethical for Fox to show a complete, three-minute GOP anti-Obama ad gratis on the pretense of analyzing it.” I have seen this trick on CNN and NBC, and it is abysmal broadcast journalism.

I am relieved to report, however, that this is not what Fox News did this morning, because the video was not made by the RNC, and it wasn’t produced by an independent pro-Republican PAC, either.

It was produced by Fox News. Continue reading

Those Military Baggage Fees: Bad Journalism and Bad PR, Not Bad Ethics

The 24 hour news cycle and blogger feeding frenzy often produce snap ethical judgments that defy the facts, logic, and fairness. Today’s example: the supposed “outrage” of Delta Air Lines making Army reservists returning from combat in Afghanistan pay excess-bag fees. A Colorado soldier posted a YouTube video complaining that their unit had to pay $2,800 for extra checked bags, and you would have thought the airlines made the soldiers fly while strapped to the wing. “You’re not going to believe this!” said “Fox and Friends” goof Steve Doocy, introdoocying the story as if it was an act of domestic terrorism. There were similar expressions of horror on CNN’s Headline News and on the local news in Wilmington, Delaware, where I was staying yesterday while doing a musical ethics program for the Wilmington Bar. And yet…

Delta did nothing wrong or inappropriate.

The staff followed policy. What were they supposed to do, spontaneously waive thousands of dollars in luggage fees out of respect for our soldiers…and have to make it up out of their own pay? The military already gets a substantial break on checked baggage; the soldiers were complaining about having to pay for bags that exceeded Delta’s limit for waiving the fees on soldiers’ bags. But if the flights are related to the soldiers’ duties, why are the domestic airlines responsible for paying their expenses? (By the way, what the soldiers don’t pay for gets passed in costs to the non-military passengers.) Simple answer: the domestic airlines are not responsible, and should not be.

When I travel on business dictated by a client or employer, the client or employer pays my costs…just like the U.S. Government pays the travel expenses of soldiers flying to and from deployments. That’s right: soldiers get reimbursements from the military for additional costs if their orders require the expense and they submit receipts. Why, then, was it Delta’s responsibility to pick up the tab for these soldiers’ extra bags, and proof of evil corporate America’s unpatriotic greed that they asked the soldiers for the already-discounted fees for excess luggage instead?

I repeat: It wasn’t. A couple of soldiers didn’t know their own expense reimbursement procedures, used YouTube to make a misrepresentation go viral, and the media indulges its reflex reaction to fault businesses and fall worshiping at the boots of our young warriors. Nobody bothered to think, much less check facts, before condemning the Delta. Terrified, as ever, of any negative publicity, deserved or not, Delta abjectly apologized (for doing nothing wrong), and was followed by other carriers in eliminating bag fees to avoid getting the stink-eye from Bill O’Reilly. Delta said it would allow four bags for free. United said it had increased the number of free military checked bags from three to four. American said it will allow five free bags instead of three for military personnel. This is nice enough, of course, but it is pure public relations nonsense.

These airlines will charge seniors traveling by necessity to an assisted living complex for every bag they check, and the military isn’t going to pay their expenses once they gut the receipts. Do the airlines let military veterans check their bags for free?  Priests and nuns, who have taken vows of poverty? Handicapped travelers, who are unable to carry on heavy bags? The disabled only get two free bags, at best, before they are charged 50 bucks per additional piece. How about pregnant women? The unemployed, relocating to a new city to look for jobs…any breaks for ? Ethically, there are much more compelling arguments for giving breaks to any of these flyers than active duty soldiers, who are going to be reimbursed by the military anyway, and should be.

I am not sure even that would be appropriate, however. I don’t think that the airlines should be in the business of charging different fees to travelers in different circumstances; it requires value judgments that I do not trust the airlines to make fairly or rationally. Next we’ll be seeing waived bag fees for registered Republicans, attractive blondes and vegans, or whoever screams the loudest or has the most vocal lobby. The proper, ethical and fair way to do business is to have the same rules for everyone.

Except Steve Doocy and the rest of the media. Charge them double.